Juncadella leads, Wehrlein takes his first victory
The seventh round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship was marked by a convincing win of Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) on Saturday, followed by an action-packed second edition to the name of Pascal Wehrlein (Mucke Motorsport) on Sunday the 19th of August.
Tue 18.09.12, 12:12PM
Although Wehrlein scored the largest number of points this weekend at the Nurburgring, Juncadella became the leader in the rankings of the official FIA championship.
During the event, the participants drive the short lay-out of the Grand Prix track. It entails a shortcut leading the drivers through the Mercedes Arena and then via the infield route directly to the Kumho turn. The start of the weekend saw a warm and sunny qualifying session, ruled by Prema Powerteam and Daniel Juncadella (1:23.096 and 1:23.212). Although the Spanish driver managed to secure both pole positions, the competition in the European Formula 3 series was fierce. The fact that twelve cars qualified within .6 of a second indicated the severe level of competition in the series.
Daniel Juncadella scores win and leads the rankings
Leaving from pole, the driver from Barcelona had a clean start of the first race and managed to fight off the attacks in the first corner. Starting in fourth position, Wehrlein managed to gain a position as well and moved up to third. Unthreatened at the front, most of the action took place in the second half of the top ten. William Buller (Carlin) and Tom Blomqvist (ma-con Motorsport) had a persisting fight for ninth position, keeping a fair competition whilst not wasting any space on the German tarmac.
With a significant advantage to Sven Muller, Juncadella managed his fourth win and by doing so taking the lead in the rankings of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship. Italian Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam), who entered the seventh round as the leader in the rankings, saw his lead change into a gap of 13.5 points towards the Spanish driver.
Wehrlein sees maiden victory
Juncadella started with another pole for the second race in the German Eifel, joined by Felix Rosenqvist on the first starting row. A very defensive line of Juncadella resulted in the exit of Rosenqvist in the first few meters of the race. It turned out to be a very eventful first lap, with collisions of Andrea Roda, Raffaele Marciello and Sven Muller. Because there were so many cars stranded on track, race control chose to deploy the safety car for a brief period of time to ensure the safe removal of the cars. In the fourth lap, green flags restarted the race.
Meanwhile, race control had issued a drive-through penalty for Juncadella, judging his defensive move at the start as the cause of the collision. After the driver from Barcelona took his penalty in the sixth lap, the lead went to Wehrlein, who built on an increasing gap towards the competition. Although Buller in second position managed to follow the leaders pace, the gap had grown too large to form any serious threat to Wehrlein’s lead. It enabled the 17-year old German to score his first win in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, closing in on the frontrunners in the rankings, Juncadella and Marciello.
For the winners of championship lay some great opportunities ahead. FIA enables the top three to test in a Formula 2 car. On top, the vice champion will receive a test in a DTM touring car, when the winner will also be awarded with a test run in the Ferrari F1 car.
Pascal Wehrlein (Mucke Motorsport): ‘The start of the second race was very spectacular. Some drivers think the entire race exists of the first corner and risk everything. I managed to stay behind Daniel Juncadella, and after his drive through penalty it was quite easy to drive to the victory. It was my goal at the beginning of the season to win races and I am happy to achieve it here. I hope to be back on the podium the following races.’
William Buller (Carlin): ‘It was an interesting first lap, and I took full advantage. After the drive through I could move up to second place. My pace was also much better than earlier this weekend. For me, it was quite a disappointing weekend, but at least we showed progress in the course of this event. I am very much looking forward to the next race at Zandvoort, as it is one of my favourite tracks.’
The next and eight round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship will be held at Zandvoort, the Netherlands on the 25th and 26th of August 2012.