Title fight to ramp up at Oulton Park

F3 Cup championship leader Toby Sowery is firmly in the crosshairs of the chasing Tristan Cliffe and some returning race-winners as the second half of the season begins at Oulton Park this Saturday (19 July).

F3 Cup championship leader Toby Sowery is firmly in the crosshairs of the chasing Tristan Cliffe and some returning race-winners as the second half of the season begins at Oulton Park this Saturday (19 July).

Cliffe's pursuit hasn't gone unnoticed by Lanan Racing's Sowery: "Tristan has quite a luminous car, so I couldn't miss him gaining on me at Spa. We'd been expecting it, but it caught me on edge a bit. We're ready for Tristan," he said.

Cliffe's year has so far been a winless one, which is unusual for him, and this could be the weekend that changes. So far this year he has finished second to Sowery five times. A return to his 2013 car set-up worked for Cliffe at Spa and he is now homing in on the runaway leader.

Cliffe said: "I was closing on them [Sowery and guest Carlin racer Peter Li]. Then the traffic got in the way and I lost a chunk of time. If I hadn't lost that I would have been right with them by the end.

"They said they weren't really holding themselves up, which gives me confidence because Toby's driven superbly all year."

Sowery, meanwhile, has shown winning form all season after matching Alice Powell's feat of a double win on championship debut. Sowery has won six of the eight races in 2014, the other two victories taken by the returning Powell at Rockingham, who won on F3 Cup's last visit to Oulton Park in April 2013.

Any number of the pack could play a major part and fight for the victory this Saturday. Lee Morgan left Belgium with his best-ever finishes in the championship, a pair of Cup 07 Class third-places, to move into third in the standings. Morgan has shown good pace and now seems adjusted to his F3 car after stepping up from Formula Jedi as 2013 champion.

Enigma Motorsport is back to full strength for Oulton Park and expecting to be challenging for a double win. Henry Chart will be racing his Cup 07 Class Dallara F305 for the first time after its engine blew in pre-season testing, while team-mate Oliver Rae, Trophy 01 Class leader, could be hunting for more podiums after a superb run of results.

Another returnee is Louis Hamilton-Smith, who skipped the overseas round. He was hounding Sowery at Rockingham before he suffered with tyre degradation, but he was still able to continue his impressive run of podiums. Mark Harrison will be looking to bounce back from a tricky Spa, though he still came home with a pair of fifth-place finishes.

After a one-car entry in Belgium, Gale Force Racing has a two-pronged attack once again, with Stuart Wiltshire and Nick Robinson attempting to close the gap in the teams' standings to Omicron Motorsport (Cliffe and Harrison). Wiltshire enjoyed a great battle with Harrison at Spa, beating him to fourth in race two.

The Trophy 01 Class could be home to some close racing, with a return for Jonathan Weston-Taylor and a debut for two-time Sports 2000 champion Oliver Stirling. Roberto Tirone could join Stirling at Stanbridge Motorsport for his second weekend in F3 Cup.

Click here to view the timetable of this Saturday's event.

Photo credit Jonathan Hatfield/JDH Motorsport Photography