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“FIA F3: Rosenqvist wins in Hockenheim; Juncadella double-champion”

October 21, 2012

Felix Rosenqvist may have won the final FIA European Formula 3 championship race of the season at Hockenheim, but it was Daniel Juncadella who took the real spoils.

The Spaniard came home 4th behind Rosenqvist and other podium visitors Pascal Wehrlein (2nd) and Alex Lynn (3rd) to take the FIA championship by 33.5 points from Raffaele Marciello.

Juncadella also claimed the Formula 3 Euro Series crown by 14 points from the persistent Wehrlein.

Out front, Rosenqvist initially led Juncadella from the start, although the Swede found it difficult to escape the clutches of his Prema Powerteam rival.
With gaps reading just under two seconds for the duration, Rosenqvist was certainly being pressed, yet at the same time, his lead was never under urgent threat during the first half dozen tours.

That changed when Wehrlein slipped by the nervous Juncadella, although it was eased thanks to an overly soft steering arm in the Spaniard’s championship winning machine.
Juncadella had a right to be nervous though. Following yesterday’s catastrophic engine failures (which were never pinpointed), the Prema Powerteam engineers changed virtually everything in Juncadella’s car.
Engine components, linkages, electronic connectors – and yes, the steering – were all changed overnight, but once something fails twice…

Meanwhile, a focussed Wehrlein reeled in Rosenqvist as the grip from the latter’s tyres began to peel away. From 1.9 seconds, the F3 rookie closed the gap to half-a-second, while dodging in the mirrors of the front-running Swede, but soon Wehrlein would also begin to struggle for precious grip.
As the final eight tours unravelled, the pace of the leading pair plateaued, ensuring Rosenqvist of his third win in four races. While Rosenqvist was happy to take the win, there was also a feeling of disappointment after dropping a large number of points mid-season.

Wehrlein ended the year as top rookie, but the 18-year-old felt a title had slipped through his fingers. That’s debateable – the German has been quick and consistent, but one can’t help but feel his ultimate speed has yet to develop.
Some drivers require that extra year to build on the foundations – a bit of time may yet still deliver a very different driver come October 2013.

The final third of the race also saw another bright young thing rise to the podium. Like Wehrlein’s earlier move, Lynn sauntered past Juncadella at the hairpin to assume 3rd as the Spaniard continued to hold onto his Mercedes-powered machine for dear life.
Lynn – who has impressed in British F3 this year – is looking to move to the European Championship next year (whatever that actually becomes) and even recently tested with the Prema Powerteam squad.

From here, Juncadella held station, despite the best intentions of Felix Serralles. As the final tours counted down, Serralles sought advantage, although the Puerto Rican was also wary of not disturbing the title fight.
Both of them saw of the intentions of Tom Blomqvist, who appeared threatening for much of the event, only to lose pace in the closing stages, eventually falling behind Sven Müller on lap 21.

Müller was in no position to challenge either Juncadella or Serralles, instead taking a solid ride to 6th place ahead of Blomqvist and Marciello.
This was not the weekend that Marciello wanted either, but the young Italian has displayed some very impressive traits this year and garnered enough experience and knowledge to challenge for the front in 2013.
The Italian was the victim of a first lap punt when William Buller momentarily lost control of his Carlin machine on the exit of turn one. Despite the significant whack, Marciello continued, but Buller – his suspension damaged – pitted and never rejoined.

Emil Bernstorff ran well to take 9th overall, just nine-tenths clear of Michael Lewis. Bernstorff’s run came with a touch of luck – the Englishman barrelled into the rear of Lucas Wolf on the fourth lap, which in turn flicked Wolf into the innocent Dennis van der Laar.
Both Wolf and van der Laar pitted and rejoined, although they would circulate a lap down on the rest of the runners.

Just outside the top ten was Carlos Sainz Jr, whose finally race was quite typical of this year – Euro Series debutante Lucas Auer punted him roughly at the first corner. Sainz continued, albeit delayed and eventually climbed from 17th to 11th; however Auer’s day was done on the spot.

Luis Sá Silva took 12th, with Jo Zeller Racing pair Andrea Roda and Sandro Zeller ending the day 13th and 14th respectively, while Wolf (15th) and van der Laar (16th) continued to tick timing beams.
Pipo Derani’s retired after eight laps due to a mechanical failure, while Felipe Nasr never started the race.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                      Time/Gap
 1.  Felix Rosenqvist     Mucke Dallara-Merc          39m35.604s
 2.  Pascal Wehrlein      Mucke Dallara-Merc            + 1.325s
 3.  Alex Lynn            Fortec Dallara-Merc           + 6.457s
 4.  Daniel Juncadella    Prema Dallara-Merc            + 9.382s
 5.  Felix Serralles      Fortec Dallara-Merc          + 10.018s
 6.  Sven Muller          Prema Dallara-Merc           + 10.641s
 7.  Tom Blomqvist        Ma-con Dallara-VW            + 13.693s
 8.  Raffaelle Marciello  Prema Dallara-Merc           + 17.524s
 9.  Emil Bernstorff      Ma-con Dallara-VW            + 26.042s
10.  Michael Lewis        Prema Dallara-Merc           + 26.933s
11.  Carlos Sainz Jr      Carlin Dallara-VW            + 37.137s
12.  Luis Sa Silva        Angola Dallara-Merc          + 52.530s
13.  Andrea Roda          Zeller Dallara-Merc          + 54.425s
14.  Sandro Zeller        Zeller Dallara-Merc        + 1m10.311s
15.  Lucas Wolf           URD Dallara-Merc               + 1 lap
16.  Dennis van de Laar   Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW      + 1 lap
Retirements:
     Pipo Derani          Fortec Dallara-Merc            11 laps
     Will Buller          Carlin Dallara-VW                1 lap
     Lucas Auer           Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       0 laps
     Felipe Nasr          Carlin Dallara-VW               0 laps
2012 FIA European F3 Championship (Final standings)
Pos Driver              Points
 1. Daniel Juncadella      252
 2. Raffaele Marciello     228.5
 3. Felix Rosenqvist       192
 5. Pascal Wehrlein        179
 4. Carlos Sainz Jr        161
 6. Will Buller            137
 7. Tom Blomqvist          117
 8. Sven Muller            109
 9. Michael Lewis          101
10. Emil Bernstorff         66
2012 Formula 3 Euro Series (Final standings)
Pos Driver              Points
 1. Daniel Juncadella   240
 2. Pascal Wehrlein     226
 3. Raffaele Marciello  219.5
 4. Felix Rosenqvist    212.5
 5. William Buller      182.5
 6. Sven Muller         172
 7. Tom Blomqvist       157.5
 8. Michael Lewis       127
 9. Carlos Sainz Jr     112
10. Emil Bernstorff      91
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