Cian Carey fought back brilliantly from last place to take a podium and precious points for Chris Dittmann Racing in F3 Cup at Brands Hatch this weekend (30 Aug – 1 Sept).
The Irish driver was forced to start at the back of the grid in both races after engine failure led to him borrowing the car of teammate Phillip Jeans.
But after a DNF in the first race, he refused to be beaten in the final one – taking third place and securing the important points that keep him top of the overall standings with just six rounds to go.
The team were also delighted to welcome back Gino Ussi after a two-year absence, who finished in P4 and P5 for a solid weekend.
Team principal Chris Dittmann said: “It was a difficult weekend for us and Cian, but to go out and get a podium in a car he’d never driven before was testament to what a pro he is.
“He was looking very fast in qualifying until engine failure meant he would not be able to race in it again this weekend. Fortunately for us, Phillip Jeans, who was unable to attend, very kindly let us use his car. The team then did a fantastic job to prepare the car and get Cian fitted in time for the first race in just two hours!
“It meant starting at the back of the grid for both races, but we knew we could pick up some valuable points.
“He overstretched himself in the first race when he was on for a P4, but came back superbly in the final race.
“It was great to have Gino back with us as well. He gave a good account of himself after such a long time away and we were very pleased with his progress over the weekend. Both drivers pulled off some text-book moves in the last race, on the toughest track on the calendar on which to overtake.”
A double podium, including a nail-biting victory in the last race, saw Cian Carey dominate last time out to extend his lead at the top of the standings.
This time out and with other drivers unavailable, Gino Ussi joined the team again for the first time in two years following a shoulder injury.
Both drivers started promisingly in qualifying, with Cian looking extremely fast and battling for pole.
Unfortunately, a few laps from the end engine failure left him unable to finish, although he had done enough for a P2.
Despite his lack of time behind the wheel, Gino hit the ground running, improving all the time for a P5 in the end.
The team were unable to fix the problem with Cian’s car in time for the first race and were fortunate to be able to borrow the car of teammate Phillip Jeans. But using another car meant Cian would need to start at the back of the field in both races.
The green flag lap was his first time behind the wheel, but despite this obvious disadvantage, he got a good start and soon found his rhythm, making his way up to P4. However, in his determination to finish as high as possible, a mistake with a few laps to go saw him spin off the track and end with a DNF.
Meanwhile, Gino had a great start and moved up to P4 which he held for a few laps. Unfortunately, he lost concentration with just two corners to go and saw Cian pass him.
But with Cian spinning and Stuart Wiltshire in the invitation class, he was still able to take a very respectable P4.
Cian was determined to leave Brands Hatch with something positive and got off to a flying start, moving up to P6 straight away.
He battled hard, taking the fastest lap along the way and moved into P4 for the remainder of the race. Amazingly, he secured the podium after Stefano Leaney was given a 10-second penalty.
Cian wasn’t the only one to pull off some brilliant moves on the most difficult track on the calendar to overtake on. Gino got off to a slow start, finding himself at the back of the field by the end of the first lap. But he fought back well and had a great battle with George Line, before overtaking him into Paddock. He managed to remain in P5 for a solid and promising weekend overall.
Cian now has an overall Championship lead of 23 points, with Donington Park next up.
Chris added: “It was obviously frustrating for Cian, but to come back with a podium at the end meant we could leave Brands Hatch fairly happy. The points at this stage of the season are all important, so we were delighted for him.
“There’s still a long way to go in this title race, so we will regroup and now prepare for Donington.”