Craven takes Donington double
Alex Craven made it two wins in two after coming out on top of a race-long battle with championship rival Tristan Cliffe
Alex Craven made it two wins in two after coming out on top of a race-long battle with title rival Tristan Cliffe to throw the championship wide open. The pair were promoted to first and second following a mistake on lap two from early leader Louis Hamilton-Smith.
Mark Harrison claimed his fourth top four finish in a row after a 10 second penalty for Alice Powell dropped her to fifth, and the season-long championship leader fell 0.822 seconds short of overhauling her penalty. Enigma Motorsport's Olly Rae took a fine sixth and Trophy Class win.
There was drama before the race had even begun as Powell failed to get away on the green flag lap. Since the whole of the grid passed her stationary car she should have started at the back of the grid. Instead, she took up her fourth-placed gridslot and was instantly issued with a 10 second penalty.
It didn't matter to the front three who all got away, led by Eyehub F3's pole sitter Hamilton-Smith. Craven had a typically good start and beat Cliffe into turn one to begin their 20 minute fight and the trio traded fastest laps as they stretched away. Hamilton-Smith's unforced error slipped him from first to third and Craven and Cliffe continued as they were, with the added incentive of a handful of extra points and a possible race win.
The fastest laps continued to drop despite the front two enjoying a titanic battle, and Hamilton-Smith reeled himself back into the mix when Cliffe had a glimpse of taking the lead. Instead of passing Craven for the lead he failed make it stick and dropped around one second back, and nearly into the clutches of Hamilton-Smith.
Cliffe replied to yet another Craven fastest lap by going six-tenths quicker than the Lanan Racing leader on the very next lap to get to within 0.6 seconds, but Craven had enough to resist the strong pressure. That barrage of fastest laps pulled the pair away from Hamilton-Smith before a red flag brought the race to an early close.
That quick lap from Cliffe was initially taken away following the one lap count back for the red flag, but later reinstated giving Cliffe the extra point instead of Craven.
Stuart Wiltshire was the cause of the early end, stopping out on the circuit with barely minutes to go after he had been running well. He resumed his race one hard-fought battle with Dave Karaskas once Olly Rae had released himself from their shackles. Rae eventually pulled himself over seven seconds clear to take a comfortable Trophy 01 Class win. With the retirement of Wiltshire, Karaskas was promoted to seventh.
Nick Robinson took eighth, well clear of the great battle to finish in the top ten between Matt Payne, Philip Austin and Frank Thomas. Payne took ninth, by less than half a second from Austin with Thomas missing out on the top ten by 0.9 seconds. Tony Bishop retired after just five laps with a mechanical issue.
The win for Craven puts him on top of the championship table, but level on points with Powell after dropped scores. The second place for Cliffe means he's 25 points back with two races still to play for at Snetterton on 26th/27th October.
Donington Park race two top ten
- Alex Craven - 10 laps
- Tristan Cliffe - +0.719
- Louis Hamilton-Smith - +3.727
- Mark Harrison - +19.959
- Alice Powell (10 second penalty) - +20.781
- Olly Rae - +27.859
- Dave Karaskas - +31.635
- Nick Robinson - +54.249
- Matt Payne - +1 lap
- Philip Austin - +1 lap