Donington pole for Cliffe
An eventfully close Donington qualifying saw Tristan Cliffe claim his tenth pole in a row after a tough couple of weeks working hard at repairing his crash damaged Dallara.
An eventful and close Donington qualifying saw Tristan Cliffe claim his tenth pole in a row after a tough couple of weeks working hard at repairing his crash damaged Dallara. Alex Craven lines up second and cursed his luck once again after suspension problems stopped his session-leading pace in its tracks.
Championship leader Alice Powell starts third after a difficult session that also ended prematurely and Eyehub F3's Louis Hamilton-Smith starts fourth. Fifth went the way of Snetterton podium-finisher Mark Harrison and Stuart Wiltshire completes the top six.
Alice Powell was the session's early pacesetter, but it was Alex Craven who was the first to breach the one minute 30 second barrier. He then went even quicker to assert himself on provisional pole before a right rear suspension issue brought his session and impressive pace to an unfortunate early close.
The Cornwall-based championship contender bemoaned the rear wishbone breaking its mount so soon into the session believing he had the pace for a nailed on pole and with the Lanan Racing man in the pits, it was left to Alice Powell, Louis Hamilton-Smith and the increasingly rapid Tristan Cliffe to fight it out for pole.
It was the latter who quickly then claimed pole, easing his much-repaired Dallara in to the session before taking to pole. Powell's bid to reel him and Craven in saw her slide into the gravel at Coppice. Her qualifying ended there with the ex-GP3 racer in third place.
On the resume, Louis Hamilton-Smith couldn't bridge the gap to Powell, instead settling for fourth. Mark Harrison's good pace continued over from the previous round at Snetterton to give him fifth alongside Stuart Wiltshire on row three. Tony Bishop finished the session just 0.086s back in seventh ahead of Trophy pole man Dave Karaskas.
Nick Robinson split Karaskas and fellow Trophy runner Olly Rae while the fourth of the Mark Bailey Racing fleet, returning Belgian Frank Thomas, starts 11th ahead of the weekend's other returnee Philip Austin. Matt Payne starts 13th ahead of Neil Harrison.
Donington race one qualifying top ten
- Tristan Cliffe - 1:28.305
- Alex Craven - +0.289
- Alice Powell - +0.497
- Louis Hamilton-Smith - +0.701
- Mark Harrison - +2.187
- Stuart Wiltshire - +2.863
- Tony Bishop - +2.949
- Dave Karaskas (Trophy) - +3.073
- Nick Robinson - +3.951
- Olly Rae (Trophy) - +4.197
Race one starts at 11:10 on Sunday. Follow @F3Cup for live updates.