Donington Park - Day 1 round-up

F3 Cup's second weekend got off to a fine start at Donington Park today

F3 Cup's second weekend got off to a fine start at Donington Park today, with a couple of new faces and a variety of weather conditions mixing up the contenders.

Qualifying kicked off at 11:10 in dry but cool conditions. Stuart Wiltshire took an early lead, posting some excellent times from the off in his Dallara F308, and both Aaron Steele and newcomer Kieran Vernon had to work hard to keep him honest. Roughly halfway through, both Steele and Vernon began to find their form and dropped the still quick Wiltshire down to third. Jacopo Sebastiani, Daniel Tapinos, Adrian Holey and the returning Matt Payne all had steady runs behind the leading three. Shortly after, Steele was forced to retire at Coppice, leaving Vernon to take the pole spot.

At the chequered flag, Vernon had posted a 1:02.927, with Wiltshire completing a Mercedes-powered front row with a 1:03.885. Aaron Steele had to settle for third, his 1:04.124 keeping him ahead of Sebastiani. Daniel Tapinos, Adrian Holey and Matt Payne completed the line-up for Race One.

 

After a cycle of downpours and sunny spells, Race One commenced after the lunch break on a drying track. Aaron Steele's getaway was deemed to good to be true, as he was handed a 10 second penalty for jumping the start. This was to prove costly as by lap six Vernon had secured a good lead ahead of him, with Wiltshire chasing hard. Tapinos suffered a spin at the Old Hairpin and was nearly collected by Matt Payne, but both escaped undamaged. 

Around halfway through the 15 minute race Sebastiani made a move on Wiltshire for third place into Redgate, but was unable to make it stick. This would prove to be his best shot at a podium spot as he ultimately had to settle for fourth place. Adrian Holey's older Trophy Class car held its own against the newer machinery of Daniel Tapinos and Matt Payne, completing the classification. Stuart's attempt to eke out revenge on his Chris Dittmann Racing teammate Kieran with a champagne chase around the podium was mostly unsuccessful, so he will have to wait until tomorrow to replay the chase from behind the wheel of his Dallara!

 

Races Two and Three tomorrow (Sunday) are at 11:00 and 16:25 respectively. Live timing will again be available on the F3 Cup website and updates will be posted on the F3 Cup Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/f3cup). 

 

Classification - Qualifying 

1. Kieran Vernon - Dallara F307 Mercedes - 1:02.927

2. Stuart Wiltshire - Dallara F308 Mercedes - 1:03.885

3. Aaron Steele - Dallara F307 Mugen Honda - 1:04.124

4. Jacopo Sebastiani - Dallara F311 VW Speiss - 1:04.632

5. Daniel Tapinos - Dallara F311 Honda NBE - 1:07.595

6. Adrian Holey - Dallara F300 Opel Speiss - 1:08.342

7. Matt Payne - Dallara F307 Mercedes - 1:12.993

 

Classification - Race One (Championship Round 3)

1. Kieran Vernon - 14 laps

2. Aaron Steele +12.630

3. Stuart Wiltshire +17.306

4. Jacopo Sebastiani +21.947

5. Adrian Holey +58.272

6. Daniel Tapinos +1 lap

7. Matt Payne +1 lap