Khani storms to third win of 2012 at Silverstone
21/09/12 - Iranian racer Kourosh Khani picked up his third win of the season as he blew away the opposition to record a deserved victory in race one at the Silverstone GP circuit today (Friday 21 September).
The Lanan Racing driver managed to get the jump on polesitter Jay Bridger at the start and once in the lead he never looked back. Bridger came home in second just ahead of the hard charging Louis Hamilton-Smith. Championship leader Tristan Cliffe could only finish in ninth while his rivals Gino Ussi finished fourth and Chris Dittmann took the flag in fifth.
The clouds threatened rain before the start of the race but it failed to appear leaving the 20 strong F3 Cup field with a dry track for which to do battle. Khani made the best start and he grabbed the lead from Bridger at Copse with Hamilton-Smith in third. Ussi held his position in fourth but Dittmann dropped behind the fast starting Chris Needham, who shot up to fifth. A mistake from Cliffe saw him drop all way down to 12th while Mark Bailey Racing's Stuart Wiltshire fell to 23rd after a poor start from 10th on the grid.
Khani managed to get his tyres working well in the early stages which allowed him to move into a comfortable lead from Bridger, who tried hard to stay on the rear wing of the Lanan Racing driver. Cliffe soon settled back into the race and he passed Jeremy Timms on lap two while his championship rival Dittmann found a way through to fifth on the following lap.
Unfortunately Matt Payne and debutant Jonathan Weston-Taylor's races didn't last long as they retried in the opening two laps.
At the front Khani set the fastest lap of the race and extend his lead over Bridger even further with hamilton-Smith in a comfortable third and Ussi fourth. Cliffe's recovery continued as he capitalised on a slowing Neil Harrison to move into ninth. Another driver on the move was Prajesh Shah as he moved passed Nick Robinson for seventh.
With Monoposto backmarkers to negotiate, traffic played its part and it allowed Khani to storm into a commanding lead as Bridger struggled. The Omicron Motorsport driver was then caught by Hamilton-Smith and Dittmann began to reel in Ussi. Further back Wiltshire made rapid progress to 14th place passing cars all over the circuit.
However, in the end nobody could catch Khani and he went on to take the flag from Bridger and Hamilton-Smith. Dittmann won the Trophy class in fifth with Dave Karaskas triumphing in the Masters Class.
Race winner Kourosh Khani said: "It doesn't get any better than that. Qualifying didn't go to plan due to the traffic. I was confident I would have more pace in the race. The race was pretty straight forward but I had to make sure I pushed so each lap was like a qualifying lap. I needed to build a gap beacuse I knew the traffic would play its part. The team did a great job and we came out with the win."
Jay Bridger admitted he was pleased with his first single seater podium for two and half years, he said: "It was nice to be back on the podium. Everybody had the same problem in the race with traffic. I struggled at the start keeping up with Khani and I made a little mistake which didn't help. I was pretty pleased with it and I managed to get rid of the rustyness. I have got to use the traffic to my advantage in race two."
Third place finisher Louis Hamilton-Smith said: "It wasn't a bad result. It took a while for the tyres to work but once we got going we could hold on to third. It was tough with the traffic out there but it was the same for everybody. I'm ready to give it another go in race two."
F3 Cup Silverstone Race 1 Results
1. Kourosh Khani Cup Lanan Racing 10 laps
2. Jay Bridger Cup Omicron Motorsport, +12.659s
3. Louis Hamilton-Smith Cup +15.350s
4. Gino Ussi Cup Grays Motorsport, +27.853s
5. Chris Dittmann Trophy Chris Dittmann Racing, +31.785s
6. Chris Needham Cup DST Group Ltd, +43.033s
7. Prajesh Shah Cup Chris Dittmann Racing, +43.257s
8. Nick Robinson Cup Mark Bailey Racing, +46.717s
9. Tristan Cliffe Cup Omicron Motorsport, +46.880s
10. Mark Harrison, Cup, Magic Motorsport, +53.108s
11. Jeremy Timms, Trophy, +1.07.421s
12. Neil Harrison, Cup, Magic Motorsport, +1.11.718s
13. Stuart Wiltshire Cup Mark Bailey Racing, +1.20.749s
14. Phil Austin, Trophy, +1.22.758s
15. Dave Karaskas, Masters, Dave Karaskas Racing, +1.33.127s
16. Frank Thomas, Cup, Mark Bailey Racing, +1.55.254s
17. Fraser Smart, Trophy, Stanbridge Motorsport, +1 lap
DNF Jonathan Weston-Taylor, Trophy
DNF James Ledamun, Trophy
DNF Matt Payne, Cup