Championship dreams take flight at Donington
After a turbulent pair of races at Snetterton three weeks ago, this weekend sees the penultimate round of F3 Cup's captivating 2013 season
After a turbulent pair of races at Snetterton three weeks ago, this weekend sees the penultimate round of F3 Cup's captivating 2013 season.
Alice Powell, Alex Craven and Tristan Cliffe all had weekends to forget in Norfolk. Cliffe and Powell crashed out at Riches on lap nine of the first race as they fought for the lead and Alex Craven dropped to second after a recurrence of his fuel issues from Silverstone. Craven and Powell then came together on the opening lap of Race Two when Powell spun on dust and Craven collected her as he tip-toed through the dust cloud. Their races ended there and David Scott claimed both of the wins. Faced with the mammoth task of repairing his car for the Donington round, Cliffe was grateful to receive help from both the F3 Cup community and further afield, and will be back on the grid and aiming to retain his Cup Class crown while continuing his challenge for the overall title.
Louis Hamilton-Smith took a brace of second places to take his podium tally to eight from just 10 starts and will be a force to be reckoned with, and has a Donington win to his name from 2011. Magic Motorsport racer Mark Harrison completed the Race Two podium last time out and he is hoping to be back in the fight this weekend. He knows and likes Donington and believes the car should too. Brother and team-mate Neil returns this weekend after engine problems forced him to pull out at Snetterton. Tony Bishop of Chris Dittmann Racing has been getting quicker all season and bagged himself a top six in Race One of round seven.
The Trophy 01 Class should host another good fight between Enigma's Olly Rae and leader Dave Karaskas; the former was on for a top four finish at Snetterton until an untimely puncture forced a visit to the pits. Rae missing three rounds this season means Karaskas could wrap up the Trophy Class title this weekend.
Stuart Wiltshire made an entertaining return at Snetterton, fighting hard with Karaskas and was well placed to take advantage to match his best finish of the season in fifth. Nick Robinson continues to help Mark Bailey Racing (who lead the Teams' Championship standings) rack up the points, and has only failed to finish once all season. Frank Thomas, Philip Austin and Matt Payne are back this weekend to add their weight to the line-up.
The title race is delicately poised, and for Cliffe and Craven risks may need to be taken which could leave the door open for a surprise or two, as Snetterton proved.