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Stanley stars as he grabs pole for F3 Cup opener

Monday, April 09 2012

Debutant Jamie Stanley used all of his local circuit knowledge to come through treacherous conditions to grab pole position for the first F3 Cup race of the 2012 season at Oulton Park today (Monday)

With the 2.6 mile Cheshire circuit soaking wet after a early morning downpour, the 17 car F3 Cup field were given an extremely tough challenge for their first qualifying session of the season. However, it was Chester man Stanley, who dominated the session grabbing pole position by a comfortable 1.3 seconds.

Stanley, driving for Lanan Racing, was quick from the outset and he was the first man to post a time sub two minutes, while the rest of the field tried to get a handle of the conditions. Mark Bailey Racing's Benjamin Harvey briefly held second spot before he was demoted by Mark Harrison, who was growing with confidence after every lap.

The session was red flagged early on but once the session resumed it was Chris Needham who showed his hand moving up to second position, but no-one could touch Stanley. Harvey moved up to third fastest just ahead of Louis Hamilton-Smith, driving Aaron Steele's old car.

As the session progressed, the battle for second spot on the grid intensified with Harrison popping a time in to grab the position on the front row. In the end, Stanley held on to his pole position ahead of Harrison, but a late effort from reigning Monoposto 2000 champion Tristan Cliffe saw him move from sixth to third on the grid. He was joined on the second row by Hamilton-Smith.

Needham was fifith fastest ahead of Kat Impey, Harvey, James Abbott, Chris Dittmann and former ARP F3 Champion Gino ussi, who rounded out the top 10.

The first race of the season begins at 13:20pm

F3 Cup Qualifying

1. J Stanley, 1:55.166
2. M Harrison, +1.341s
3. T Cliffe, +1.667s
4. L Hamilton-Smith, +2.971s
5. C Needham, +3.110s
6. K Impey, +3.594s
7. B Harvey, +3.620s
8. J Abbott, +5.532s
9. C Dittmann, +7.250s
10. G Ussi, +8.469s

Tickets for the British GT/F3 Championships at Oulton Park on 6,7 & 9 April are available on the gate for £21, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.