Dittmann and Lloyd claim spoils in final Rockingham F3 races
Chris Dittmann scored a second win today, and Hywel Lloyd claimed the last ever Formula 3 race at Rockingham
An overcast sky greeted the F3 Cup contenders this morning, as Chris Dittmann once again lined up on pole position, this time alongside Shane Kelly. Tony Bishop and Hywel Lloyd made up the second row, ahead of Stuart Wiltshire, Patrick Jeans, Cian Carey and Baptiste Leonard. Carey had received a five place grid penalty for the incident in race one yesterday.
Kelly made an outstanding start in his University of Wolverhampton Racing prepared Dallara, leading the pack into turn one. Dittmann had the confidence going into the turn two hairpin however, and managed to take the lead. Bishop and Carey came together this time, with Bishop having to retire forcing the weekend's second Safety Car period.
At the restart, Dittmann again held his gap and Lloyd managed to take advantage of Kelly at turn two to grab second place. Kelly didn't give up on second however, and kept Lloyd firmly in his sights. Carey worked his way through the pack once more, but when his progress slowed when he reached Wiltshire and struggled to get past. Patrick Jeans was soon with them, and as Dittmann claimed his second victory over Lloyd of the weekend, a Wiltshire/Carey drag race out of the final corner saw the CF Racing driver claim third ahead of his Chris Dittmann Racing counterpart.
Dittmann said, "There were spots of rain in the air in the first lap and I probably took it too easy, so after the Safety Car I stayed right on it."
Lloyd commented, "That makes up for the disappointment from yesterday. I just wanted to get the first lap out of the way and get on with it! I got a good restart, passed Shane and then tried to hunt Chris down."
Race three would be the last ever Formula 3 race at Rockingham Motor Speedway - a chance for the winning driver to enter the annals of motorsport history. The team manager battle continued as Dittmann lined up alongside Lloyd, but the tables turned as the pair raced towards the now infamous turn two and it was Dittmann's turn to out-brake himself. Lloyd took control of the pack with Carey and Kelly in tow. Dittmann recovered the car and set about catching the pack.
The race settled into a rhythm, with the longer 20 minute session allowing the drivers to play a longer game. The front three began to spread out, but a battle emerged between Wiltshire, Leonard, Jeans and Bishop. As Dittmann caught the pack, he and Bishop collided at the last corner, forcing Bishop to retire and Dittmann back to the pits for a new front wing. The Safety Car was deployed to allow debris from the incident to be cleared, and the CDR squad got straight to work on the boss' car, managing to get him back out just ahead of the pack as the Safety Car came in.
Lloyd controlled the race from there, eeking out a 4.5s gap and securing the final win. Carey and Kelly followed him across the line, securing valuable championship points.
He commented, " I got a good start, I'm not sure exactly what happened to Chris but I couldn't see him in my mirrors. It was a nice race."
Carey reflected on a tough weekend, "That [finishing ahead of championship rival Wiltshire] was the most important thing, had a few bad results this weekend but I'm happy with full points in that race as Hywel is racing as a guest. I can't afford any more non-finishes now so it's all about keeping it consistent."