Coming into the second race of the weekend for the F3 Cup drivers, the big question was whether Tristan Cliffe would make it a double win this weekend, in different conditions. Yesterday saw a drying track on wets, but as Sunday morning arrived, the Kent circuit was bathed in glorious sunshine. Also would Alice Powell improve from the third place in race one?
The race dawned and as the cars got away from the line two drivers made an impression going into Paddock Hill Bend: Louis Hamilton-Smith who got the jump on pole sitter Cliffe and also Alex Craven who leapfrogged championship leader Alice Powell going into the same bend.
The first lap came and went without any more drama, but Cliffe got a run on Hamilton-Smith into Paddock Hill Bend, dropped out of the slipstream and dived up the inside of the Brackley racer. From then onwards until the end of the race, Cliffe pulled away in a similar fashion to his race one win, eventually crossing the line 13 seconds and a new fastest lap, ahead of Hamilton-Smith and Craven who towards the end of the race was being caught by an increasingly lively Powell, thanks to backmarkers getting in the way during the last lap of the race.
After the race Alice Powell conceded that she didn’t have the right gearing, “I was struggling to come out of Surtees, and down the straights, so we need to fix that for the next race”.
“Points mean prizes”, she explained, “and Tristan [Cliffe] has found a lot of pace from somewhere so we need to try and get some pace and see where we go from there, get everything right for Silverstone as the Toyota is 30kg heavier than other cars and race well there”.
A jubilant Cliffe said that the weekend “couldn’t have been more dominant really: I’m chuffed to bits and the car was doing alright” before throwing down the gauntlet to Powell, “she’s been driving conversantly and she needs to start trying again”.
“Of course, Alice has done GP3 so she’s a better racing driver than me and she thinks she’s going to get to F1, so she needs the disadvantage [of a heavier engine] really, as she goes to the gym every day whereas I haven’t in five years. OK, she thinks she has a massive disadvantage in the car and money, but not ability, so if she can start trying again, then we can make a race of it [the championship]”.
Game on then.
The next F3 Cup round is at Silverstone on 17th/18th August at Silverstone.