Spa qualifying roundup

F3 Cup’s annual overseas round got underway in fine style at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit today (24 June), with two qualifying sessions which determined the grids for the two races this weekend.

F3 Cup's annual overseas round got underway in fine style at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit today (24 June), with two qualifying sessions which determined the grids for the two races this weekend.

The first session started on a damp track after heavy rain overnight; the session was declared wet giving the drivers the option to run the control Pirelli wet tyres if they chose. No more rain was expected however, and a number of cars made the switch to slicks over the course of the 25 minute session.

UWR's Shane Kelly took an early lead, with George Line quickly responding, but within a few minutes the times began to tumble as the circuit dried out. Just over ten minutes into the session, Stuart Wiltshire managed to take well over 10 seconds off the early times, but didn't get to enjoy the glory for long as Daryl Jones took another two seconds out of the CDR driver's time. With less than two minutes on the clock, Robbie Watts put in a scorching 2:20.257 to snatch pole position, and although Jacopo Sebastiani put in a flying lap soon after it wasn't quite enough to top Watts and the Omicron driver had to settle for second place. Jones held onto third, ahead of Wiltshire, Kelly, Line, James Heffernan, Malcolm Scott, Tony Bishop and newcomer Tim Buckley for the first race on Saturday.

The afternoon session would set the times for Sunday's race - and began in significantly better conditions than the morning session, on a warm track in sunny conditions. Combine this with refreshed knowledge of the circuit, and the times were instantly faster than the morning session, Watts hitting the 2:19 mark early on despite an early red flag for a stranded Monoposto car. Wiltshire was chasing hard, and soon found himself in some clean air in which to maximise his speed. As the drivers battled through the traffic the times remained fairly static, with Jones in third and Heffernan in fourth. Sebastiani managed to jump ahead of Line, and Kelly moved up to fourth but would ultimately take third from Jones.

Race One takes place at 12:45pm tomorrow (11:45am BST) and updates will be available at www.f3cup.co.uk/live as usual.