Tricky conditions challenge team strategy

Zach Claman de Melo secured a second victory as changing weather conditions brought tyre strategy into play

F3 Cup's second race of the weekend got underway in changing weather conditions, and strategy turned out to be a key factor in the race.

The Clerk of the Course declared the race as a "Wet Race" giving the teams the option to switch to the control Pirelli wet tyres. However the rain seemed to peter out in the interim so everyone elected to stay on the slick tyres for the green flag laps. Those two laps of the Snetterton circuit were enough for CF Racing's Daniel Tapinos and Chris Dittmann Racing's Stuart Wiltshire to decide to make the switch to wet tyres - a decision which would prove fruitful, despite it meaning they had to start the race from the pit lane.

When the lights went out, Carlin's Zach Claman de Melo made a fantastic start to steal the lead from pole-man Henry Chart by the first corner. Aaron Steele was in hot pursuit, as was Louis Hamilton-Smith. Unfortunately for Hamilton-Smith, he was deemed to have been out of position at the start of the race, and was handed a 10 second penalty during the course of the first lap which dropped him down the rankings.

After two laps Wiltshire and Tapinos were making their way back up through the field as the rain started to fall more persistently. CF Racing made the decision to also pit Alf Skeels for a tyre change and as the top Cup Class runners began to close in on each other. Claman de Melo began to stretch his lead, as Steele closed in on Chart, closing the gap to just 2.5s. Wiltshire managed to pass Sebastiani for 5th, just as Claman de Melo took the win. Daniel Tapinos' tyre choice paid dividends as he clinched third place behind Steele, ahead of Wiltshire, and Chart who had a nightmare final lap with a spin costing him a podium spot. In the Trophy Class Adrian Holey brought his F300 home ahead of James Ledamun.

 

F3 Cup - Snetterton 300, 25/26 July - Race Two results

1. Zach Claman de Melo - Dallara F308 - 7 laps

2. Aaron Steele - Dallara F307 - +23.211

3. Daniel Tapinos - Dallara F311 - +28.593

4. Stuart Wiltshire - Dallara F308 - +29.058

5. Henry Chart - Dallara F305 - 2:06.258 +35.767

6. Jacopo Sebastiani - Dallara F311 - +38.201

7. Louis Hamilton-Smith - Dallara F306 +1:03.619

8. Wade Eastwood - Dallara F307 - +1:22.618

9. Alf Skeels - Dallara F311 - +2:03.997

10. Adrian Holey - Dallara F300 - +1 lap

11. James Ledamun - Dallara F300 - +1 lap