Carey Escapes First Lap Drama to Take Victory

Cian Carey claimed his second F3 Cup victory this afternoon

F3 Cup’s second race at Brands Hatch GP took place under similarly blue skies this afternoon (20 May). This time Cian Carey held pole position, alongside Jacopo Sebastiani and ahead of Stuart Wiltshire and Shane Kelly.

As the lights went out, everyone made a clean start with Carey leading into Paddock Hill. Stuart Wiltshire immediately applied the pressure on Sebastiani, but there was contact as the leading pack headed down the hill causing Sebastiani to spin out. Hot on his heels, Kelly was left with nowhere to go and ended up colliding with the side of his Dallara. The pair drove away, but both had suffered damage and were forced to retire to the pits.

As a result of the melee, Tony Bishop was able to move up from fifth on the grid to take third as the cars settled in around the GP loop. Carey and Wiltshire began to pull away but Bishop wasn’t done yet – a series of fastest laps were the reward as he chased them down and gradually reduced the gap.

Further back, Baptiste Leonard and Martin Daly were enjoying a tight scrap, with George Line and Dave Gillett also getting stuck in at various points.

Wiltshire didn’t want to settle for second, and maintained a strong pace to challenge Carey for the lead, but it is notoriously difficult to overtake around Brands Hatch GP and he couldn’t find the space to make a move. At times lapping faster than the leader, the CF Racing driver was stuck in the dirty air behind the Chris Dittmann Racing car, and would ultimately have to make do with second place. Indeed, Carey was comfortable enough at the front to control his speed, maintaining the gap and increasing it when necessary.

As the flag fell, Carey celebrated his second F3 Cup career win, ahead of Wiltshire (his second podium of the weekend) and a strong finish for the very quick Tony Bishop, who set the fastest time in that race and finished third despite a five second penalty for exceeding track limits. Even though he didn’t finish the race, Shane Kelly would feature on the podium as he collected the Sunoco Fastest Lap of the Weekend award for his performance in Saturday’s race.

Race winner Carey said, “I had a sniff at the win yesterday but I gave it up, and I knew I had the pace to win this weekend. So once I got into the lead today I wasn’t going to throw it away! I was under a bit of pressure from Stuart behind but once I had that half a second or a second gap I wasn’t going to throw it away. I thought he was going to get tired but he didn’t!”

Wiltshire joked, “He was lucky this time around! There were no gaps left this time but if there were I was going to throw one up the inside! He drove a good race and I really enjoyed it. Fair play to [CF Racing team mate] Tony, well done!”

A delighted Bishop said, “It was good fun – I tried to hang on to these guys but then I started to save my tyres, until I realised there isn’t a third race this weekend!”

Reflecting on the lap one incident, Kelly commented “It was just bad luck, couldn’t go anywhere. It was a great job by the [University of Wolverhampton Racing] guys, they got a new front wing on really quick but we had a damaged steering arm so we just left it, it’s too quick around here to take a chance. But, it’s still early in the season so we’re happy.”

F3 Cup returns to action on 23-24 June at Silverstone, on the National Circuit.