F3 Cup heads to Cheshire's Oulton Park
After a dramatic event at Spa Francorchamps F3 Cup moves into the second half of the season...
After a dramatic event at Spa Francorchamps F3 Cup moves into the second half of the season with an intense one day double header on the demanding Oulton Park circuit. Championship leader Shane Kelly saw his form falter at Spa, which has allowed both Daryl Jones and George Line to close to within striking distance of the top of the points table. Shane and the University of Wolverhampton Racing Team (UWR), which has been doing a top class job of running Shane's Dallara, will certainly be looking to re-stamp their mark on the standings here this weekend. At the same time title contender George Line has had an excellent first half to the year. With support from CF Racing, George's family team are building in confidence and will want to get their driver up alongside Shane on the points table.
Meanwhile two experienced F3 Cup competitors, who both had brilliant first-time wins at Spa, are at the top of there game and will also be looking to close on the points leaders. Stuart Wiltshire had a superb weekend at Spa with a dream weekend in his Chris Dittmann Racing-run Dallara F308, and Jacopo Sebastiani also took an excellent win in his Omicron Motorsport-run Dallara F311. Both these drivers and their teams are going to be straining to take a game-changing result here, especially since they have the very experienced Malcolm Scott, also run by Chris Dittmann Racing, right behind them in the points table, just ahead of CF Racing's James Heffernan. Oulton suits Malcolm's very focused driving and he could be a major factor, and James Heffernan is on a charge after missing out on a career-best win at Spa by a mere three-hundredths of a second.
It's a measure of the level of competition in F3 Cup this season that two very experienced and quick competitors remain just outside the top six in the points. Chris Dittmann Racing's Tony Bishop has weathered misfortunes at Brands and Spa, and Team Fox Racing's Robbie Watts posted pole position at both Spa races, only for misfortune to intervene in both races. These are both very quick and determined competitors who will be looking to reverse their fortunes in the second half of the season.
Finally (but by no means least!), Oulton sees Hywel Lloyd, former F3 National Champion and boss of CF Racing, join the fray in person. On outings in F3 Cup in previous seasons Hywel has run right at the front and often shaken, then set, a new benchmark for the previous pacemakers. It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top at this critical event!
Words: Simon Davey