Cliffe controls to win from pole
Tristan Cliffe made it four wins from the last five races by converting his pole position into another win.
Tristan Cliffe made it four wins from the last five races by converting his pole position into his fourth win of the season. All three championship contenders made the podium with Alice Powell in second and Alex Craven third.
It was Louis Hamilton-Smith who got the best getaway, beating poleman Cliffe into turn one as the field entered Copse for the first time. The start of Alex Craven in fourth was the polar opposite to his race two start at Brands Hatch and instead of making up a handful of places he was swamped. James Cross too had a slow getaway, falling back as he struggled to get off the line.
Omicron's Cliffe was back in front after getting a run on Hamilton-Smith onto the Hangar Straight and he thenset about building a lead. The third placed Alice Powell wasted no time in latching onto the back of Eyehub's Hamilton-Smith, eventually forcing him into a mistake to move through into second. The mistake dropped Hamilton-Smith back to eighth as he recovered, and Powell's target changed to the man in the lead.
The Trophy 01 Class produced a thrilling, if brief, battle as Dave Karaskas and Olly Rae entered Copse side by side as Karaskas looked to reply to Rae's earlier move. The Aussie held on and slowly eased away from Karaskas to come away with a top six finish and the class victory.
As the front two stalked each other, Craven was scything through the field and shaping up a move on the third placed Chart. The move stuck at Woodcote and Powell's attentions had to be switched behind to Craven. A plastic bollard threatened to ruin the brewing battle between Craven and Powell when they both ran over one dislodged by Cliffe ahead, and Mark Bailey Racing's Powell came off worst with damaged steering. Her times dropped, in turn dropping her towards Lanan's Craven but the championship leader managed to control it to the flag to notch up another podium, edging another couple of points clear of Craven in the championship standings.
Chart took fourth, eight seconds away from those in front and Louis Hamilton-Smith behind, who recovered well to come home fifth to end his run of podium finishes this season. Mark Harrison in seventh split the Trophy 01 pair of Rae and Karaskas with James Cross in ninth. Nick Robinson rounds out the top 10 after Chris Headlam received a five second penalty for exceeding track limits.
Race winner Cliffe claimed fastest lap to secure pole for race two, adding an extra point to his haul and closing the gape to the lead two. Powell and Craven start Sunday's race as they finished in second and third.
F3 Cup race one result
- Tristan Cliffe - 10 laps
- Alice Powell - +5.621
- Alex Craven - +6.763
- Henry Chart - +15.152
- Louis Hamilton-Smith - +23.201
- Olly Rae - +34.026
- Mark Harrison - +42.633
- Dave Karaskas - +43.466
- James Cross - +46.012
- Nick Robinson - +56.936
Race two starts at 15.05 on Sunday, with live updates on Twitter from @F3Cup