F3 Cup 2019 Blasts into Action

F3 Cup's 2019 season kicked off in fine style today, with Shane Kelly showing his typical Donington form

F3 Cup's 2019 season kicked off today, with the University of Wolverhampton Racing (UWR) once again showing their dominance at Donington Park.

The qualifying session this morning took place in dry conditions, with a total of 14 cars heading out onto the East Midlands circuit. After a few laps, UWR's Shane Kelly was already top of the table, keen to reassert the team's past success at the opening weekend of the championship. 

As the times began to fall, Stefano Leaney emerged as the quickest man on circuit, though his 2019 EuroFormula-spec car is ineligible for F3 Cup, placing him in the Invitation Class this weekend. Of the championship contenders, it was reigning champion Cian Carey who pipped Kelly to the top of the times in the mid-phase of the session.

Patrick Jeans came unstuck through the Craner Curves and pirouetting on the damp grass, just grazed the back of his car against the tyre wall. It was enough to damage the rear wing however, and he returned to the pit lane and Chris Dittmann Racing set to work repairing the car.

With just over five minutes on the clock, James Simons' car ended up beached and the Safety Car was deployed so he could be recovered. A number of the drivers took the opportunity to return to the pit lane and amidst a flurry of mechanics checking tyre pressures, Team Fox Racing set to work on Darragh Daly's car with the engine cover off. 

With two minutes left, the Safety Car returned to the pit lane and the drivers set off to set one last quick time, including Daly. The order changed on that final lap, as Kelly posted a time of 1:03.646 to take the championship pole position from Carey. Leaney scored overall pole position with a 1:02.104.