Dominant Cliffe takes Brands Hatch pole
Tristan Cliffe claimed a brilliant pole position for race one of F3 Cup at Brands Hatch GP, continuing his fine form from the previous rounds.
Tristan Cliffe claimed a brilliant pole position for race one of F3 Cup at Brands Hatch GP, continuing his fine form from the previous rounds. He was the only driver to lap under 1 minute 23 seconds, nearly a second clear of Louis Hamilton-Smith in second.
The Mulbarton racer is clearly showing no signs of his hefty trip over the Zolder kerbs at the last round, and neither is the Dallara. Despite saying before the session he needs to bed in new brakes and will start off "slowly", he quickly took control of qualifying posting some ominous-looking times.
Louis Hamilton-Smith kept chipping away at the gap, but Cliffe kept good on his promise and went quicker and quicker. A lap of 1:22.434 was enough to take pole position by 0.913 seconds from Hamilton-Smith.
Championship leader Alice Powell was no match for Cliffe and will line up third alongside Henry Chart, around two seconds slower than the poleman.
Alex Craven, who currently lies second in the championship, starts fifth with Robbie Watts in sixth. Open wheel debutant Chris Headlam had an impressive start, flirting with the top six before being dropped to eighth behind Mark Harrison.
The returning James Cross ran well and will start ninth ahead of fellow returnee Stuart Wiltshire, with Dave Karaskas the fastest Trophy competitor in 11th. Tony Bishop set his fastest time on his final lap but it wasn't enough to better 12th, and Neil Harrison, Nick Robinson and Jonathan Weston-Taylor were closely matched from 13th to 15th. James Ledamun and Matt Payne complete the grid.
"I can definitely go quicker." Cliffe said at the end of qualifying. "I made some mistakes and missed a couple of apexes by a few metres. It's the best car I've ever driven."
Photo credit Andrew Cliffe