The 2012 finale for the FIA European Formula 3 Championship was one to watch.
Sun 21.10.12, 7:07PM
The last and tenth round of the series at the Hockenheimring in Germany had Felix Rosenqvist written all over it. With double pole and double wins, the Mucke Motorsport driver made a jump in the standings, and secured the third place in the championship, just behind Raffaele Marciello in second and the 2012 Champion: Daniel Juncadella.
Nothing is decided until the flag drops
Rosenqvist had signed for pole for Saturday with a time of 1:34.062, an impressive four tenth of a second in front of anyone else. The sunny and dry weather conditions gave way to optimal racing conditions for the start of the penultimate race this season. After the lights went off, Rosenqvist pulled away from the others. However, Juncadella put his car next to that of the Swede at the entrance of the Motodrom. A risky part of the Badem Wurttemberg track as Bernstorff and Sainz collided there moments after. Sainz was victimized and had to find his way to pitlane with a punctured tyre. Whilst Rosenqvist was building on a steady gap, Juncadella made no effort to attack feeling comfortable in second position, bringing him enough points to take the title on Saturday already.
After two third of the race, the top five of the starting grid had not changed compared to the starting grid. With just three laps to go, Juncadella suddenly lost significant speed on the straight. Unfortunately, it was not a driver mistake, but turned out to be a serious technical problem. It meant the points leader lost places rapidly and retired from the race in the pre-last lap.
Wehrlein and Marciello complete the podium
The third placed Wehrlein thankfully moved up a spot after the events. The young German truly showed the progress he has made over the season and is being watched by talent scouts already. Rosenqvist did himself another favour; with his strong performances in the last three events, he switched to the third placed in the FIA standings, at the cost of Carlos Sainz.
The last race of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship started on Sunday morning, the 21st of October at 11.15. Rosenqvist had a remarkable start and had a stretch of distance to Daniel Juncadella in second. The latter soon noticed Pascal Wehrlein was the fastest man on track. The German closed in on the Prema Powerdriver, who decided to minimize his own risks and let Wehrlein by in the hairpin of the seventh lap.
The only threat to leading Rosenqvist came from Wehrlein, who visibly drove closer and closer to his Swedish teammate. Although he showed faster laptimes, Wehrlein clearly had decided second place was to be his, as he never made an attempt on Rosenqvist. Juncadella meanwhile gave another place away, facing a problem with the steering column in his car. Finally, fourth was enough for Daniel Juncadella to become this years’ FIA Champion of Formula 3.
Winners are moving up
For the winners, Juncadella, Marciello and Rosenqvist lay some great opportunities ahead. FIA enables the top three to test in a Formula 2 car. On top, Marciello, as second placed will receive a test in a DTM touring car, when the Juncadella will also be awarded with a test run in the Ferrari F1 car in the first half of November.
Rosenqvist (Mucke Motorsport): “We were really strong at the last part of the season. Unfortunately, we suffered from a lot of bad luck earlier this season. Starting Zandvoort, things changed for the better and we showed that with our wins in the last three rounds of the season. I achieved the maximum this weekend, with two poles and two wins. I was not the fastest car today, but Pascal made no attempt to pass me. I would like to congratulate him on his succesful year, and the same to Daniel Juncadella for taking this years title.”
Wehrlein (Mucke Motorsport): “The start of the race was the most important moment for me today, and especially not to loose my third place. I screwed up my tyres, but found the right pace. Second place was okay for me today.”
Juncadella (Prema Powerteam): “This weekend was much more difficult than we expected. I had nightmares this week that the first race would go wrong horribly and it really did. I thank my team for the incredible hard work they put in the car to solve the problem we had yesterday. I had an issue with the steering of the car today, which made me a little scared during this last race. However, I am really happy to win, even if it was not the way I wanted to win.
Results Race 1:
1. Felix Rosenqvist* in 25 laps, 39:45.135, 2. Pascal Wehrlein* +5.658, 3. Raffaele Marciello* + 8.551, 4. Tom Blomqvist* +11.174, 5. Sven Muller* +11.938, 6. William Buller* +24.386, 7. Lucas Auer +27.672, 8. Lucas Wolf* +33.938, 9. Michael Lewis* +34.690, 10. Luis Derani +39.717
Result Race 2:
1. Felix Rosenqvist* in 25 laps, 39:35.604, 2. Pascal Wehrlein* +1.325, 3. Alex Lynn +5.132, 4. Daniel Juncadella* +9.382, 5. Serralles +10.018, 6. Sven Muller* +10.641, 7. Tom Blomqvist* +13.693, 8. Raffaele Marciello* +17.524, 9. Emil Bernstorff* +26.042, 10. Michael Lewis* +26.933
All drivers marked with * are registered for the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
Final result FIA European Formula 3 Championship:
1. Juncadella with 252 points, 2. Marciello 228.5, 3. Rosenqvist 192, 4. Wehrlein 181, 5. Sainz 161, 6. Buller 137, 7. Blomqvist 117, 8. Muller 109, 9. Michael Lewis 101, 10. Bernstorff 66, 11. Wolf 19, 12. Roda 8, 13. Sa Silva 7