Raffaele Marciello claimed not only the first race at the Grand Prix de Pau this afternoon, but also his first win in the FIA European F3 Championship.
The Prema Powerteam earned a 6.7 second win over Carlin’s Jazeman Jaafar, while an embattled Alex Lynn (Fortec) took 3rd overall.
Marciello – part of the Ferrari F1 development team – led from the start, chased initially by teammate Daniel Juncadella and Mücke Motorsport’s Pascal Wehrlein.
The Swiss-Italian pilot had grafted a 2 second lead, when Wehrlein dived down the inside of Juncadella at the tight turn four. At first colliding and then locking wheels, the pair blocked the circuit, bringing out a safety car, while a furious Juncadella was left to gesticulate at Wehrlein.
Meanwhile, Marciello continued after the restart and built a significant gap to Jaafar to ensure full honours for Saturday.
“It was fantastic, because yesterday I crashed. So then I got pole position and the race was perfect. After the safety car, I controlled the tyres as they are difficult to make them [last] for the race. On the first lap push, but then I push just a little bit after that and then I made 20 laps with the tyres.”
Fortec’s Pipo Derani was also caught up in the incident when his route around the corner blocked, causing the Brazilian to lose his engine.
Unfortunately for Derani, it was deemed that the marshal’s gave him outside assistance to restart, earning a black flag for his troubles.
Running 4th, Jaafar now slotted into 2nd spot, although a brief challenge across the line as the safety car withdrew, alerted Marciello to Jaafar’s threat.
Marciello pulled clear bit-by-bit each lap around, although Jaafar had enough of a gap over Lynn to be sure of his runner-up place. The runner-up finish would also ensure Jaafar claimed his first British F3 class victory.
“I didn’t really have a good start. Then I had a big lock-up and lost a bit of time there. I saw the yellow flags and was quite shocked to see who had crashed. Then I just focused as much as I could on the restart but I didn’t have as much speed as I needed. Raffaele drove really well and deserved the win. It’s been a good weekend and the team has worked really well.”
Lynn held Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport) off for the distance, despite losing his engine when the Juncadella / Wehrlein incident stopped running.
“I was quite lucky because I stalled into the hairpin and it wouldn’t fire up initially. I had to reset everything and then it fired up second time, which was a real Godsend.”
Jack Harvey led home a trio of Carlin cars. The 19-year-old, who lost out to Rosenqvist off the line, ended up spending much of the race holding Carlos Sainz Jr at bay, until a late burst pulled him clear of the Spaniard. However, for Harvey, there was a share of relief.
“Everybody stopped into the hairpin and it was hard to slow down and I hit another car. To finish with a broken front wing and a bent trackrod is pretty good.”
Harry Tincknell enjoyed a solid day, going from 11th to 7th, as the Englishman sneaked by Felix Serralles when the field bunched up at the turn four melee.
Fahmi Ilyas took a credible 9th overall. The Malaysian narrowly led a quartet of contenders across the finish line, with Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam, 10th), Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec, 11th) and Sven Muller (Prema Powerteam, 12th) all covered by a mere 1.7 seconds.
In the National Class, T-Sport’s Spike Goddard claimed yet another class win when Duvashen Padayachee failed to start.
Despite only just returning from a bout of appendicitis, the Australian displayed excellent pace and even challenged International Class competitor Geoff Uhrhane (Double R) for position in the latter half of the race.
Goddard also held F3 Euro Series regular Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Team) off until the flag to complete a satisfying day.
FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 1, May 12th, 23 laps) [also British F3 Series (Rd 3, Race 1)] Pos Driver Team Time / Gap 1. Raffaele Marciello Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 29:54.589 2. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin-Volkswagen +6.734 3. Alex Lynn Fortec-Mercedes +8.057 4. Felix Rosenqvist Mücke Motorsport-Mercedes +8.813 5. Jack Harvey Carlin-Volkswagen +12.329 6. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin-Volkswagen +15.351 7. Harry Tincknell Carlin-Volkswagen +16.099 8. Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes +16.928 9. Fahmi Ilyas Double R-Mercedes +23.716 10. Michael Lewis Prema Powerteam-Mercedes +24.465 11. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec-Mercedes +25.155 12. Sven Muller Prema Powerteam-Mercedes +25.498 13. Tom Blomqvist ma-con Motorsport-Volkswagen +27.434 14. Pietro Fantin Carlin-Volkswagen +28.120 15. Nick McBride T-Sport-Nissan +29.738 16. Geoff Uhrhane Double R-Mercedes +36.887 17. Spike Goddard T-Sport-Mugen Honda +37.434 18. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Team-Mercedes +39.384 19. Andre Roda Jo Zeller Team-Mercedes +1 lap Retirements: Pipo Derani Fortec-Mercedes 12 laps Daniel Juncadella Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 8 laps Pascal Wehrlein Mücke Motorsport-Mercedes 8 laps Emil Bernstorff ma-con Motorsport-Volkswagen 0 laps Duvashen Padayachee Double R-Mugen Honda 0 laps
2012 British F3 Series (Rd 3, Race 1) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Jazeman Jaafar 86 2. Carlos Sainz Jr 84 3. Jack Harvey 75 4. Felix Serralles 72 5. Alex Lynn 54 6. Pipo Derani 48 7. Harry Tincknell 48 8. Pietro Fantin 42 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 25 10. Nick McBride 20 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Spike Goddard 125 2. Duvashen Padayachee 82 2012 European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 1) Pos Driver Points 1. Daniel Juncadella 50 2. Carlos Sainz Jr 44 3. Felix Rosenqvist 42 4. Raffaele Marciello 33 5. William Buller 20 6. Sven Muller 10 7. Tom Blomqvist 6 8. Lucas Wolf 4 9. Pascal Wehrlein 4 10. Michael Lewis 3