Chris Dittmann Racing wasted little time in displaying their F3 Cup dominance once again thanks to a hat-trick of wins for Cian Carey at Donington this weekend (6-7 April).
After taking the driver and team titles in 2018, it was business as usual on the opening rounds of the new season.
The reigning champ was in stunning form, hitting the ground running to take all three wins and launch his title defence in style.
And with strong drives from Phillip and Patrick Jeans and Jonathon Hughes, it was a positive start to the season all round.
Team Principal Chris Dittmann said: “Three wins out of three is a pretty good start to the season! To come back and win all three races is a huge achievement – it’s the first time he’s ever done it.
“Cian was pole for most of the qualifying session but got picked off at the end. However, he was still P2 for the first race and pole for the second and made it count where it mattered.
“It was only Jonathon’s second time in the car with us and he hasn’t been in a car for nearly eight or nine months, so he showed great potential and improved as the weekend progressed. He was up to fourth place in the first race but overcooked it unfortunately trying to chase the top 3, but still finished P7 and put on some good lap times.
“Patrick spun and hit the wall during qualifying which put him on the back foot for the weekend but he fought his way through well.”
Irishman Cian took seven wins and four other podiums on his way to the Championship Crown last season, with CDR also securing the team title by 30 points.
And it didn’t take long to dust off the cobwebs and get back to winning ways.
Testing went well, with all drivers adapting to the colder weather and Jonathan, in particular, showing some good progression throughout the day in what was his first time at Donington in an F3 Cup car.
The morning qualifying session took place in dry conditions with 14 cars out on the circuit, including a number competing in an Invitation Class but ineligible for the F3 Cup.
While Cian led most of the way, a safety car changed momentum and when the drivers set off for one last quick time, Carey was beaten to pole to end in P2.
Meanwhile, Patrick was forced to return to the pit lane and finished in P8 after a spin left him with some rear wing damage, with Phillip ending up in P9 and Jonathon having a great run to finish in P5.
Cian got off to a great start when the racing got underway, taking the lead early on in lap 4 and going on to eventually bring the car home in first place by 0.464 seconds.
Jonathon managed to get up to P4 and was looking to break into the Top 3 when he suffered a spin and lost valuable time to end up in P7, with Patrick close behind in P8 and Phillip in P10.
Cian started in pole in Race 2 and held his position well to take the win after a good battle. A spin by Jonathon led to a red flag with the race finishing two minutes early and Patrick finishing in P9 and Phillip in P11.
The last race saw Cian take the win again for an impressive hattrick. But the whole team managed to finish the weekend on a high, with Jonathon finishing in P6 from his P13 start, Patrick moving up two places to end in P7 and Phillip the same, to finish in P9.
Chris added: “I was really happy with the weekend, it was a really good way to get things going again.
“Hopefully we will see more improvement and the other guys competing for the podiums as the season moves forward.”