Alice headed to Snetterton in Norfolk last weekend for rounds 13 and 14 of the MSVR F3 Cup. Alice headed into the event with a 26 lead over nearest rival Tristan Cliffe although when you take dropped scores into account the gap is much less.
Qualifying was just before lunch on Saturday and it became a fierce battle between her and Cliffe. It threatened to rain during the session but other than some light drizzle which had no effect on track conditions it remained dry. Alice initially set pole but Cliffe came back with a faster lap. Alice then beat Cliffe’s time but right at the very end of the session he snatched back pole by 0.160 seconds. Second was still a great result and with a good start she could lead into the first corner.
The first race got underway at 4:10pm and Alice was feeling confident. As the lights went out she got a great start straight into the lead. To make things even better Cliffe got a poor start and fell behind the other championship contender, Alex Craven. Alice tried to pull a gap especially as Cliffe would inevitably pass Craven and be on her tail. Unfortunately for Alice, Cliffe passed Craven sooner rather than later and was straight on her tail. For the next few laps Alice drove a great defensive race and Cliffe was unable to find a way past. Finally Cliffe managed to sneak past at Coram but Alice wasn’t going to give in. She pulled in behind him down the Senna straight and got a great slipstream. As they headed towards Riches she pulled out to pass. In an incredibly brave and impressive move she passed him around the outside of Riches and emerged in the lead. Unfortunately it was then that disaster struck. Alice explains;
“I made a great start, but was struggling to get the car working through the faster corners. Tristan (Cliffe) caught me up after a few laps and made a good move on me into the last corner. I got a good tow up the main straight and entered into turn one in the lead, when I got hit from behind. It did a lot of damage to the car and badly bruised my knees as they hit the side of the car quite aggressively!”
Alice’s car was a mess with two wheels hanging off and both wings completely torn off. There was also damage to the side pod. Alice herself was mostly okay although her battered knee meant a trip to the medical centre. The Stewards investigated the incident and ruled in Alice’s favour. Cliffe was given two penalty points on his licence and an official reprimand.
By Sunday Morning the car was fully repaired and Alice had been cleared to race by the doctors. Cliffe’s car had been too badly damage to fix at the circuit and so he was out of race two. This meant Alice would start on pole just ahead of her other championship rival, Craven.
Things looked good for the win and Alice got a great start to lead Craven into the first corner. As the lap progressed Alice pulled out a gap and things were looking fully under control for the win. It was then that disaster struck again. Over to Alice once more to explain;
“There was some oil from an earlier race down at the Bomb Hole, one of the fastest parts of the circuit. As I ran over it, the car instantly snapped away and I was sideways. Unfortunately, Craven couldn’t avoid me and he ran into my side pod putting us both off the track, and ending our race. It’s been a weekend to forget.”
Her car had this time suffered damage to a side pod and the front suspension but both can be easily fixed before the next rounds.
Despite the double non finish, Alice keeps the championship lead by 10 points and she now can keep all her points when dropped scores are taken into account as these are now her worst results. Before this weekend her worst result of the season had been a fourth place. There are now four races remaining, two at Donington park at the end of September (28th and 29th) before the championship returns once again to Snetterton for the finale on the 26th and 27th October. By Marc Waller