Raffaele Marciello won the final European Formula 3 race of the weekend at a rain hit Norisring, ahead of Daniel Juncadella and Felix Serralles.
The Italian survived a torrential downpour, tiptoeing his way around the bumpy German streets, in an event that could realistically have been called off!!
Alas, it became a race dominated by the safety car. With 21 laps completed – two-thirds of which were run behind the safety car – the red flag was shown as conditions eventually passed beyond the point of sensibility.
The race started under neutralised conditions and did not receive a green flag until the seventh tour.
Sensing an opportunity, Marciello slipped down the inside of poleman Pascal Wehrlein at turn one; however the unfortunate Wehrlein was in turn hit by the out of control Will Buller at the opening corner – an incident that encouraged a wry smile from Marciello.
“At the first corner, I need to overtake Wehrlein, but I turn[ed] in first and Buller took him. It was dangerous, because in the dry you can see if a driver has stopped; in the race, you see nothing.”
Buller was given a drive through penalty for his actions – a harsh decision considering the appalling conditions.
Carlin’s Jack Harvey and Jazeman Jaafar also suffered incidents at the restart, with Harvey clipping the rear of an overly cautious Sven Muller in the towering spray.
Jaafar clattered Buller’s strewn front wing, damaging his suspension in the process – Jaafar continued briefly, but soon fell out of the event due to his wounded car.
Meanwhile, Marciello kept ahead of Juncadella although the gap between the pair rarely drew past one second.
The line-up would be locked come the start of lap 15, when the safety car emerged for the second time, thanks to Philip Ellis’ stranded GU Racing machine. The Englishman had a near miss with Carlos Sainz Jr through the first hairpin, only to slide straight into the wall at turn three.
The static field ensured Marciello of the win, although the Italian was less than impressed with the conclusion of the race.
“I don’t know why the put out the red flag, because the rain was less, so I think we could have made full points. I am a little disappointed. The start, there was a lot of rain. After I saw the safety car, there was less, so I don’t know why we stopped.”
Despite missing out on the victory, Juncadella was pleased to have taken solid points from the race he felt was becoming too dangerous.
“Here you need to race with no downforce [in the dry], but when it’s raining there’s a lot of rivers in the straights and it’s quite crazy racing. I wouldn’t call it a race, because there was all those yellow flags, so I have to be happy with points and 2nd position.”
The Spaniard lamented the conditions feeling the effects of the torrid weather impeded racing far too much:
“When you are really close to the guy in front, you always have a lot of spray in front and you don’t always see anything – you just look at his rear light and you look at the sides to see the braking point and when you are really slow in the hairpins, you see a lot.
“The most dangerous place was the braking for the first hairpin; there’s a few rivers and also on the main straight, there are quite a few rivers and we’re in 5th gear flat and you feel the wheels spinning and that’s when a guy spun on the straight. It was quite dangerous.”
Serralles brought his Fortec racing machine home a safe 3rd, after skipping through the restart carnage. Apart from sleeping passed the Buller / Wehrlein melee, the Puerto Rican took Pietro Fantin and Emil Bernstorff, as the pack filtered amongst the hanging rain.
Serralles managed the gap to a fired-up Bernstorff; however Fantin’s fortunes took a slight knock when lost 5th to Hannes van Asseldonk on the ninth tour.
The Brazilian collided with the power sliding Pipo Derani in turn three, pushing both wide and opening the door for van Asseldonk to sneak through. Out of control, Derani lost his front wing against the harsh turn three wall, necessitating a pit stop.
Unable to match van Asseldonk, Fantin maintained 6th until the end.
Fortec proved their worth for van Asseldonk, when his engine failed when fired-up in the morning. The team mechanics worked frantically to change the unit in 37 minutes, ensuring the Dutchman made the start.
Tom Blomqvist pipped Michael Lewis to 7th before the final safety car emerged, while both Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell climbed up the order with little fuss to take 9th and 10th respectively.
2012 European F3 Championship (Rd 5, race 3, 21 laps) (also British F3 (Rd 6) & F3 Euro Series (Rd 4) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 26m22.376s 2. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 0.731s 3. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc + 1.194s 4. Emil Bernstorff Ma-Con Dallara-VW + 2.783s 5. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec Dallara-Merc + 3.715s 6. Pietro Fantin Carlin Dallara-VW + 5.632s 7. Tom Blomqvist Ma-Con Dallara-VW + 9.081s 8. Michael Lewis Prema Dallara-Merc + 9.409s 9. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Merc + 9.780s 10. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW + 11.027s 11. Sven Muller Prema Dallara-Merc + 11.388s 12. Fahmi Ilyas Double R Dallara-Merc + 11.708s 13. Andrea Roda Zeller Dallara-Merc + 14.617s 14. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc + 16.343s 15. Nick McBride T-Sport Dallara-Nissan + 19.313s 16. Luis Sa Silva Angola Dallara-Merc + 20.992s 17. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Mugen + 25.529s 18. William Buller Carlin Dallara-VW + 1 lap 19. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW + 1 lap 20. Duvashen Padayachee Double R Dallara-Mugen + 1 lap 21. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc + 2 laps 22. Lucas Wolf URD Dallara-Merc + 2 laps 23. Sandro Zeller Zeller Dallara-Merc + 3 laps Retirements: Philip Ellis GU Dallara-Merc 13 laps Geoff Uhrhane Double R Dallara-Merc 13 laps Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 9 laps Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Dallara-Merc 8 laps Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 7 laps
Bold = British F3
Italics = British F3 National Class
2012 FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 5, Race 1) Drivers Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Raffaele Marciello 149.5 2. Daniel Juncadella 124 3. Carlos Sainz Jr 96 4. Will Buller 78 5. Felix Rosenqvist 66 6. Pascal Wehrlein 62 7. Michael Lewis 51 8. Sven Muller 49 9. Tom Blomqvist 33 10. Emil Bernstorff 23
2012 British F3 Series (Rd 6, Race 1) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Jazeman Jaafar 186 2. Jack Harvey 182 3. Felix Serralles 176 5. Alex Lynn 144 4. Carlos Sainz Jr 140 6. Pietro Fantin 137 7. Harry Tincknell 133 8. Pipo Derani 96 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 81 10. Nick McBride 57 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Spike Goddard 270 2. Duvashen Padayachee 232 3. Adderly Fong 62
2012 Formula 3 Euro Series (Rd 4, race 1) Drivers' Championship Pos Driver Points 1. Daniel Juncadella 122 3. Raffaele Marciello 116.5 2. William Buller 105.5 4. Pascal Wehrlein 92 6. Sven Muller 83 5. Carlos Sainz Jr 82 7. Felix Rosenqvist 76 8. Michael Lewis 74 9. Tom Blomqvist 67 10. Emil Bernstroff 33.5 Teams' Championship Pos Team Points 1. Prema Powerteam 313.5 2. Carlin 187.5 3. Mucke Motorsport 168 4. ma-con Motorsport 100.5 5. Jo Zeller Racing 24