Donington Park - weekend preview
F3 Cup heads to Donington Park this weekend for its first ever triple-header event
This weekend sees the second F3 Cup event of 2015, with competitors facing a new triple header race format, which includes new rules for deciding grid positions over the weekend. The grid for Race One will be set according to the fastest lap times achieved in qualifying. Race Two's grid will be according to the second fastest lap times achieved in qualifying, with Race Three's grid set according to the finishing positions in Race Two. The objective is to reward both speed and consistency over the weekend's racing.
Oulton Park double winner Henry Chart has to miss out on racing this weekend because the event falls right in the middle of vital university exams. Hot on his heels, both on-track and in the points table, Aaron Steele will be hoping to have sorted out the clutch problems which spoiled both his starts at Oulton, and will undoubtedly be looking for wins here in his Grays Motorsport Dallara. Front runner Louis Hamilton Smith was in even more trouble at Oulton with a persistently loosening rear wheel, but hopefully his Jigsaw Motorsport outfit will have this sorted for this weekend. Louis is always quick at Donington and he will certainly want to take the opportunity to close the gap to the points leaders.
Third in the points table after the opening rounds is a spectacularly on-form Stuart Wiltshire in his newly acquired Dallara F308, run by Chris Dittmann Racing. He has taken to the car like a duck to water and with Donington suiting his driving style, it will be interesting to see how strong he is here. CDR lead the Teams Championship after Oulton, and with regular driver Tony Bishop not running this weekend their second entry is handled by Kieren Vernon, who is taking a weekend off from coaching BRDC F4 drivers to have his first outing in F3 Cup.
Next up in the points table are two newcomers to F3 Cup this season: Jacopo Sebastiani in his Dallara F311 run by Omicron Motorsport and Daniel Tapinos in an F308 run by former British F3 team CF Racing. Both are rapidly progressing up the F3 learning curve, with Jacopo looking to improve on his Oulton Park podium placing.
In the Trophy Class for cars built before 2002, Adrian Holey ran his ex-Joe Zeller Racing F301 with an excellent first performance at Oulton - his start in the second race was stunning - and he will be hoping to cause even more of an upset for the newer Cup Class cars at Donington. The entry will be rejoined by F3 Cup stalwart Matt Payne in his F305 Mercedes, running for the first time since 2013.
F3 Cup will have qualifying and Race One on Saturday, with Races Two and Three on Sunday. You can follow the action via live timing on the F3 Cup website, with live updates also available on Twitter.
Words: Simon Davey