Dittmann Gets the Job Done
Chris Dittmann completed an impressive lights-to-flag victory in Kent this afternoon
F3 Cup's first race of the weekend took place under mostly cloudy skies, although the rain was kind enough to hold off for the duration of the race. 2012 Champion Chris Dittmann had secured pole position earlier in the day, and lined up alongside Robbie Watts.
As the lights went out, everyone on the grid made a clean getaway, and Dittmann held on to the lead into the first few corners. Behind him however, drama unfolded as teammates Wiltshire, Sebastiani and Eastwood made contact at the exit of Graham Hill Bend. Although all three were able to continue, Wiltshire suffered front wing damage and was forced to return to the Pit Lane for a replacement.
In the midst of this, Carey was able to move up to fourth place, and Line had a fantastic start to his race moving up to sixth from the back of the grid within two laps!
Eastwood would ultimately come unstuck out on the GP loop, beaching his Dallara in the gravel at Dingle Dell, which moved Carey up to the podium positions. The Safety Car was deployed to allow safe retrieval of Eastwood's car, closing up the pack.
When the Safety Car was called in, just under ten minutes were left on the clock. Dittmann made an astonishing start when the race resumed, catching everyone else off guard as he disappeared towards Paddock Hill. Carey began to bear down on Watts, but the Team Fox driver retained control of the battle as he paced himself perfectly, speeding up when necessary to maintain a gap.
A four way battle developed for fourth place as the top three spread out, with Ussi, Line and Kelly running three wide around Surtees. Kelly tried again to pass Line around Paddock, but would have to wait until they reached Westfield to make a move stick.
After a stunning drive, reigning champion Line was sadly forced to retire with a puncture, and as the chequered flag fell Dittmann held a dominating 6.8s lead over the rest of the pack.
Speaking afterwards, Dittmann said: "The car was in pieces last week, and my mechanics had to drive back to get a new fire extinguisher last night, three hours each way, so huge thanks to them. I've got to dedicate the win to my wife who is five weeks away from the birth of our first child!"
Robbie Watts, second, said, "I was caught napping a little bit at the restart, and there was too much of a gap then so I tried to consolidate second place. Cian [Carey] put some pressure on, but I'm happy with second"
Cian Carey commented, "I was worried at the restart as to whether I would have enough pace but I pulled away again so I was happy with that. I saw all the dust out the back and assumed it was a back marker, but I was kind of relieved to see Wade [Eastwood] parked up!"
F3 Cup races again tomorrow (10 September) at 11:25. Live updates and timing will be available at www.f3cup.co.uk/LIVE