Raffaele Marciello took the first FIA European Formula 3 race of the weekend at the Norisring.
The Italian pulled ahead of poleman Felix Rosenqvist into the first turn and was racer challenged thereafter.
In a race twice interrupted by the safety car, Marciello held his nerve, despite a gearshift issue that allowed Rosenqvist to draw back to the rear of his Mercedes-powered Dallara, but in this instance, the Prema Powerteam racer was in his prime, easily securing both the win and the 25 points.
Racing under appeal following a technical issue in qualifying, Rosenqvist came home 2nd, but was removed from the results directly after race finish. His position in the final outcome is still under discussion between the stewards and the Mucke Motorsport team.
Alex Lynn took a hard earned 2nd spot ahead of Lucas Auer and Felix Serralles. Lynn jumped the Puerto Rican Serralles off the line, while the following pair battled hard for 4th and 5th through the remaining laps.
It was a battle eventually won by Auer following a mistake by Serralles in the hairpin. The Fortec racer lost the back end of his machine on lap 31, losing momentum, giving the opportunity and the place to his Austrian rival.
Alexander Sims put in an excellent performance in his return to F3 with a 6th place finish. Starting 5th, the Briton lost out to Auer on the opening tour, but held his place thereafter with an aggressive and assured drive.
Pipo Derani took 7th following a super start from the fifth row, finishing just ahead of EuroInternational’s Tom Blomqvist; however it was Blomqvist’s new teammate Nick Cassidy who secured one of the drives of the race.
The Kiwi stalled momentarily on the grid, dropping back to 25th, before scything his way back up the order to finish in the points. Cassidy was already 17th after eight tours with that becoming 12th another eight later.
Passes on Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Wold brought into a fight with Carlin pair Jordan King and Harry Tincknell, with Cassidy expertly taking both into the final corner. As the crossed the line, Cassidy took 9th, King 10th and Tincknell 11th.
There was some truly dreadful driving in the pack in today’s race. On the opening lap, Daniil Kvyat made contact with Nicholas Latifi, while Eddie Cheever III and Sandro Zeller spun warily.
Mitch Gilbert was pummelled by the haphazard Sean Geleal into the hairpin on the seventh tour bringing out the first safety car. An out of control Spike Goddard rammed and innocent Dennis van de Laar on lap 13 – a nadir for the T-Sport racer, followed by Tatiana Calderon sliding helplessly into Michele Cerruti,.
Lastly Sven Muller misjudged a divebomb on Antonio Giovinazzi, while Lucas Wolf slid with a problematic right front wheel.
It was also noticeable how many drivers failed to reasonably slow down under double-waved yellow flags during these incidents.
At this point, penalties are expected. An update will come shortly…
[Results to come…]