Silverstone Showdown for Championship Contenders
F3 Cup's 2018 champion will be crowned at the final round this weekend
After a tense season, F3 Cup arrives at Silverstone this weekend for the final two races of the year. As is almost a tradition now, the championship will be decided this weekend, and could even come down to the very last race.
A number of drivers have proved their pace this year, with the first five races won by five different drivers, and a trio of first-time podium finishers last time the championship was in Northamptonshire, on the National Circuit.
This weekend will see three contenders vying for the 2018 honours. Current championship leader Cian Carey had a rough start to the year, suffering two DNFs in the first two races. The Chris Dittmann Racing (CDR) squad sorted the car to the extent that Carey finished the weekend on the podium, and he hasn’t looked back since. No less than six outright wins (and many other podiums) see him top the points table, but a further DNF at Rockingham last time out means he now has three zero score rounds to drop, and can’t afford any further losses this weekend.
One of the championship’s longest serving competitors, Stuart Wiltshire has had a particularly strong year, leading the standings for the first half of the season. Consistent podium finishes, including a win at Brands Hatch GP, line him up for his best ever championship result. Under CF Racing’s banner, Wiltshire has only two non-finishes on the board this year and trails Carey by just seven points before dropped scores are accounted for.
The final championship contender is the University of Wolverhampton Racing (UWR)’s Shane Kelly. Having been within touching distance of the title for the last two years, the whole team will be singularly focused on closing the gap to Carey and Wiltshire, while also crossing their fingers for some old fashioned, good luck! The team’s meticulous preparation has seen Kelly pick up 10 podium finishes, but like Carey, three DNFs mean he needs to make scoring those valuable championship points the priority.
The championship title battle is not confined to the drivers however, with the Teams’ Championship also going down to the wire this weekend. Having topped the table all year, CF Racing relinquished the lead to CDR at Rockingham, and just 30 points separate them with up to 114 points available this weekend. Team Fox Racing were forced to miss the Rockingham round, but with two cars out this weekend to UWR’s one, should be able to secure third place.
Both of the leading teams will field strong line ups; CF Racing have 2016 Champion George Line, Tony Bishop and newcomer Stefano Leaney alongside Wiltshire, while CDR have Phillip Jeans, Patrick Jeans, and Baptiste Leonard with Carey.
Team Fox welcomes back Stephen Daly (who scored a win and a third place at Donington Park) and Stephen Fitzpatrick who raced at Brands Hatch GP and Snetterton.
James Simons returns after suffering an engine failure at Snetterton, and we are pleased to welcome previous Monoposto champion Ben Cater back this weekend, running with past F3 Cup front runners Enigma Motorsport.
For live timing and live updates across the weekend, please head to www.f3cup.co.uk/LIVE. Don’t forget to follow the championship’s social media channels too - @F3Cup.
Photo: Mark Lees