Halfway point arrives with brilliant Brands Hatch GP

26/07/13 - The midway point of the F3 Cup season is brought up this weekend on the most challenging circuit of the year, the Brands Hatch GP

The midway point of the F3 Cup season is brought up this weekend on the most challenging circuit of the year, Brands Hatch GP.

The championship standings are closing up at the top with Alice Powell and Alex Craven leading the way. Third-placed Tristan Cliffe appears to be the man in form after setting a series of fastest laps at the previous rounds, and he finally converted it into a win in race one at Zolder.

This weekend promises to be one of the most competitive rounds so far this season, and the chance to race on the extended layout is bringing back some familiar faces to the championship. James Cross is one of those back in the seat of an F3 Cup car after skipping the previous two rounds, and he's itching to get out onto track.

"I had a great time at Oulton Park [round one], qualifying second, but then at Silverstone we didn't have the pace. We thought we'd be top five, and although our pace wasn't that far away I just wasn't quite getting there. It was kind of like going through treacle. I'll go into qualifying with everyone cold and hopefully I'll be back where I was at Oulton and up near the front.

"It's going to be hard as everyone's so quick. Everybody's been raising their game with every race and you've got people like Tristan [Cliffe] who are back now and right on top of their car and where they left off last season. But, Oulton's proved the speed is there. It will be interesting where I fall in, but that's part of the fun."

Henry Chart is hoping for a return to the front and the end of a frustrating start to the year. "The engine's all sorted now, the problem at Zolder was more set-up." He admitted.

"I've been following Alice today [in testing] so I think we should be in with a chance.  Hopefully it will be two poles tomorrow and two wins."

Championship leader Alice Powell came home from the previous round at Zolder with a win in race two, and she's making a return of her own this weekend: to the seat of her own car. She had to borrow Frank Thomas' and Stuart Wiltshire's Mark Bailey Racing cars at the previous two rounds, but a steady stream of points have still been coming her way. She admits this weekend still won't be easy.

"The car feels good, I'm back in my original car as we think we've found the problem with the straight line speed and the misfire so we're hoping for a good weekend. I think we should have a good weekend though it should be tight, and I'm hoping it will be. There aren't many overtaking spots here so qualifying is going to be important and the start of the race." Powell said.

F3 Cup races twice this weekend, race one takes place on Saturday at 16.00 with qualifying at 11.15 that morning. Race two, the grid compiled from the fastest laps from race one, starts at 12.35 on Sunday.

Photo credit Andrew Cliffe.