Stutely shines to grab Donington pole in dyer conditions

29/04/2012 - Enigma Motorsport's Linton Stutely showed off his skils as he secured pole position for round three of the 2012 F3 Cup in horrific conditions at Donington.

29/04/2012 - Enigma Motorsport's Linton Stutely showed off his skils as he secured pole position on his debut for round three of the 2012 F3 Cup in horrific wet and windy conditions at Donington Park.

The former Formula Ford driver adapted best to the tricky wet conditions at the Leicestershire circuit out of the bumper 21 car field, to win pole by almost three seconds from Italian Gino Ussi and Mark Harrison.

With the rain teaming down and standing water on circuit the session started with several laps under the safety car. However, once the session began it was Trophy Class runner Chris Dittmann, who set the early pace with Ussi in second and Tristan Cliffe in third.

As the cars lapped the circuit a dryer line began to appear but conditions remained incredibly difficult. The Dallara F399 of Stutely then topped the timesheets and the Enigma Motorsport man continued to improve as the session progressed.

A spin from Benjamin Harvey, who topped the timesheets in practice yesterday brought out the safety car once again. The session resumed but nobody improved their times leaving Stutley on pole from Needham and Ussi. However, Needham was demoted to fourth for an infringement under the yellow flags promoting Ussi to second and Mark Harrison to third.

Early pacesetter Dittmann finished the session fifith quickest ahead of Harvey, Tristan Cliffe, Stuart Wiltshire, Dave Karaskas and James Abbott, who rounded out the top 10.

Pole man Linton Stutely was delighted with his debut F3 Cup performance, he said: "The car is working really well after all the problems we have had. There was a lot of standing water which made the car twitch all over the place but the grip was ok. Standing water was a big problem.

"If the car holds together and I don't spin I think I can pull off the win. I was surprised the gap was that much but it wasn't a good wet time. Its a good start to the F3 Cup campaign and to be honest I was praying for rain."

Second placed man Gino Ussi was equally pleased with his effort to secure seocnd on the grid, he said: "It was tricky out there and I should have been a bit quicker but there was a lot to deal with and everyone had to deal with the same problems. I'm really happy with the car we have found a set up but it was like driving on ice. The team set the car up beautifully."

Promoted to third was early championship contender Mark Harrison, who is looking to maintain his strong start to the season, he said: "I'm strugglng to recall driving in conditions quite that bad. It was a bit of a lottery. I'm pleased with third and it is always easy to be up at the front in the rain. The plan is to hope for the best and try to get to the end. It's a long season and today is one of those days when you need to pick up points."

Race one begins at 12:50pm.

F3 Cup Qualifying Results

1. Linton Stutely, (Trophy) 1.22.807s
2. Gino Ussi, (Cup) +3.130s
3. Mark Harrison, (Cup) +4.382s
4. Chris Needham, (Cup) +5.183s 
5. Chris Dittmann, (Cup) +5.523s
6. Benjamin Harvey (Cup) +6.174s
7. Tristan Cliffe, (Cup) +8.062s
8. Stuart Wiltshire, (Cup) +8.515s
9. Dave Karaskas, (Trophy) +8.596s
10. James Abbott, (Cup) +10.345s
11. James Cross, (Cup) +10.363s
12. Kat Impey, (Cup) +10.572s
13. Stephen Clegg (Trophy)+10.574s
14. Tony Bishop (Cup) +10.666s
15. Philip Austin, (Trophy) +10.749s
16. Nick Robinson, (Cup) +10.986s
17. Neil Harrison, (Cup) +11.770s
18. Matt Payne, (Cup) +15.236s
19. Frank Thomas (Cup) +24.588s
20. Prajesh Shah, (Cup) +54.860s
21. James Ledamun (Masters) DQ