Cliffe hoping third time’s a charm in 2014

After two years of coming so close to winning the championship, Norfolk's Tristan Cliffe is hoping 2014 will finally be his year in F3 Cup.

After two years of coming so close to winning the championship, Norfolk's Tristan Cliffe is hoping 2014 will finally be his year in F3 Cup.

Cliffe, 32, has twice visited the final round of the season at his local Snetterton circuit with a chance of the title, but had to settle for second place in the standings and the Cup class title in 2012 and third overall in 2013.

With some race-winning regulars returning and some impressive new drivers entering the fold, he isn't taking anything for granted.

"We have had a good couple of years but have just fallen short, and if we can carry the speed we got out of the car into this season we should be somewhere near the front. The likes of Louis [Hamilton-Smith] and Henry [Chart] will be quick though, all I can do is set the car up to be as fast as I can and then try to maximise that pace." Cliffe said.

No driver visited the top step of the podium more times than the Omicron Motorsport racer in 2013 and he collected all but two IWI Fastest Lap Awards, handed to the driver who sets the fastest race lap of the weekend. But, he started the season on the back foot after delivery of his current Dallara F307 was delayed and he had to wait until round seven at Zolder before he took the first of his six wins.

He's not expecting any such issues this season, and wants to start by making up for the spin from the lead in the final race of 2013 at Snetterton when the championship returns to Norfolk for April's opening round.

"The first race at Snetterton at the end of last year couldn't have gone any better but then in race two I touched a puddle of water and I spun from the lead. We were quickest at both Snetterton rounds last year and it's a circuit I know well, obviously."

His Mulbarton-based Omicron squad are hoping to field both of their Dallaras in 2014 as they bid to wrestle back the Teams' championship crown they won in 2012.

"We're putting a big push on filling our second car, which is the car I drove in 2012. We won the teams' title that year so hopefully that will go some way to prove our pedigree as a team. Customers come first, and only when they're ready, happy and fixed do I turn my attention to my own car." he explained.

"2013 was nice in a way as I could concentrate on my own thing, which has helped me understand the cars so much more, and with luck that means any customer driver would benefit now. I see my long-term future as an engineer, so to win the teams' and drivers' championship in 2014 would be absolutely brilliant. But, we need a second driver first so we're taking it one step at a time."

Snetterton hosts the opening round of the 2014 F3 Cup season on 5/6 April. Tickets start at £14 in advance, admission is free for children 12 years and under. Click here to book.

Photo credit Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo