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Local man Stanley streaks to debut F3 Cup victory

Monday, April 09 2012

Jamie Stanley came through an eventful race to claim his maiden and debut F3 Cup victory at his home circuit of Oulton Park today (Monday).

Stanley led from the start coping with the tricky wet conditions well. There was plenty of action behind, but despite a safety car period the Chester man came out on top finishing ahead of Mark Harrison and Tristan Cliffe.

The poleman made a textbook start and he was followed into Old Hall by M Harrison and Cliffe. However, further behind Louis Hamilton-Smith bogged down at the start allowing both Chris Needham and Kat Impey through. Radical Clubman's Cup champion James Abbott also made a bright start moving up to sixth just ahead of the recovering Hamilton-Smith.

By the end of the opening lap, Stanley held a healthy advantage ahead of Harrison and Cliffe but behind the trio Needham dropped back behind Impey, Abbott and Hamilton-Smith. The safety car soon made an appearance with both Philip Austin and F3 Cup newcomer Gino Ussi stuck in the gravel, neutralising the race.

The leader made no mistake on the restart and it didn't take long for him to restore his lead. Harrison remained in second with Cliffe in hot pursuit in third. The battle for fourth took a dramatic change just a lap after the restart with Impey's hopes of a good start to the season shattered by mechanical problems, forcing her into retirement. This allowed the recovering Hamilton Smith to move into fourth after slipping by Abbott at Old Hall.

Hamilton-Smith's stay in fourth place was brief as Abbott regained the position shortly after. Needham also found a way past Hamilton-Smith for fifith place. The move proved to be the last change in the race as the red flag prematurely ended the race with Stanley taking a maiden F3 victory from M Harrison and Cliffe. In the Cup Class, Harrison took the win from Cliffe and Abbott, while Karaskas and Clegg finished behind Stanley in the Trophy Class.

A delighted Jamie Stanley said:"It's never easy espeically in wet conditions at Oulton Park. The circuit was a lot trickier than in qualifying it was definitely more greasy. It would have been nice to see the chequered flag but a win is a win. Its been a fantastic day and I hope I can record a double win."

Second place finisher Mark Harrison was equally pleased with a podium to kick off the new F3 Cup season, he said: "It's a great start to the season. Jamie was outstanding and I could just about see him at the finish so I'm taking some positives from that. I got the class win so it bodes well for the new season. If the rain holds off it might be dry tyres for the second race."

After achieving his target of a podium from the first race, Cliffe said: "At times I was quicker than Mark and he was quicker than me but i could not find a safe place to pass. It's a good start and I think myself and Mark are going to be in for some good battles this year. It was a lot greasier than this morning and it was really tough. Hopefully it will dry out for the second race."

The second race begins at 16:30.

F3 Cup Race 1 Result

1. J. Stanley (Trophy) 7 laps
2. M. Harrison (Cup) +6.619s
3. T. Cliffe (Cup) +7.598s
4. J. Abbott (Cup) +18.582s
5. C. Needham (Cup) +20.583s
6. L. Hamilton-Smith (Cup) +21.277s
7. D. Karaskas (Trophy) +41.713s
8. S. Wiltshire (Cup) +44.533s
9. T. Bishop (Cup) +44.697s
10. N. Harrison (Cup) +47.143s

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.