“FIA F3: Marciello takes first blood at Vallelunga”

Raffaele Marciello took the opening race of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship weekend at Vallelunga, but it was a far from easy win.

The Italian led from start-to-finish, but was shadowed for the duration by T-Sport ace Alexander Sims and Prema Powerteam counterpart Alex Lynn.

It was a very aggressive start by the leading trio, with Marciello edging ahead of Sims through the opening turns, while Lynn lurked in their engine fumes.

As Sims attacked, Marciello managed the gap to approximately 0.7s-0.8s, with Marciello, Sims and Lynn consistently circulating within three-tenths of the pole lap.
However when the race eased into its second half, rear tyre wear began to factor and the leading group began to drop tenths here and there; however none could take advantage of the situation.

Sims lost a little time in the mid-part of the race, allowing the gap to grow as much as 1.3s by lap 14; however the fell back to under one second in the final third, but not enough for advantage to be taken.
After 24 tours, Marciello crossed the finish line, just 1.053s ahead of Sims, bringing the Italian’s championship lead over Felix Rosenqvist up to 33.5 points. Lynn took the final podium spot a further 1.1s behind the 2nd place man.

Carlin’s Daniil Kvyat raced to a lonely 4th, several seconds ahead of Prema Powerteam rookie Eddie Cheever, who took 5th place – his best finish of the season.
Cheever was untroubled by the tense battle for 6th place between Pipo Derani, Lucas Auer and Sven Muller. The threesome battled hard in the second half of the race, even going side-by-side through several turns, but despite Auer’s best efforts, Derani maintained his top six.
Muller, too, was on watch, taking the chequered flag just six-tenths behind Auer, yet the German could nothing to move up the order.

Antonio Giovinazzi drove very well to 9th to be the highest finishing Double-R runner. Giovinazzi held his own late on again a hard charging Felix Rosenqvist, who took the final point after starting 27th and last.
Rosenqvist was left in the final row after a crash in qualifying session one took him out of contention; however the Swede made several places on the opening lap, before picking off Tatiana Calderon (lap 2), Lucas Wolf, Michael Lewis, Jann Mardenborough (all lap 3), John Bryant-Meisner (lap 4), Jordan King (lap 7), Dennis van de Laar (lap 9), Tom Blomqvist (lap 14) and Harry Tincknell (lap 16).

Felix Serralles crashed his Fortec out from the points early on, while Spike Goddard had two offs, but finished, albeit lapped. Mitch Gilbert stalled from 18th on the grid, rendering his race rather mute.

2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship (Rd 9, Race 1; 24 laps)
Pos  Driver              Team/Car                          Time/Gap
 1.  Raffaele Marciello  Prema Dallara-Merc              36m08.051s
 2.  Alexander Sims      T-Sport Dallara-Nissan             +1.053s
 3.  Alex Lynn           Prema Dallara-Merc                 +2.195s
 4.  Daniil Kvyat        Carlin Dallara-VW                  +7.437s
 5.  Eddie Cheever       Prema Dallara-Merc                +14.104s
 6.  Pipo Derani         Fortec Dallara-Merc               +18.105s
 7.  Lucas Auer          Prema Dallara-Merc                +18.806s
 8.  Sven Muller         Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW         +19.333s
 9.  Antonio Giovinazzi  Double R Dallara-Merc             +21.119s
10.  Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Merc                +22.122s
11.  Harry Tincknell     Carlin Dallara-VW                 +26.404s
12.  Tom Blomqvist       Eurointernational Dallara-Merc    +27.621s
13.  Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW                 +33.115s
14.  Dennis van de Laar  Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW         +34.838s
15.  John Bryant-Meisner Fortec Dallara-Merc               +35.380s
16.  Michael Lewis       Mucke Dallara-Merc                +35.826s
17.  Nicholas Latifi     Carlin Dallara-VW                 +36.974s
18.  Jann Mardenborough  Carlin Dallara-VW                 +37.358s
19.  Lucas Wolf          URD Dallara-Merc                  +42.474s
20.  Tatiana Calderon    Double R Dallara-Merc             +45.216s
21.  Andre Rudersdorf    Ma-con Dallara-VW                 +45.665s
22.  Roy Nissany         Mucke Dallara-Merc                +48.373s
23.  Sandro Zeller       Zeller Dallara-Merc               +55.395s
24.  Mitchell Gilbert    Mucke Dallara-Merc                +56.641s
25.  Spike Goddard       T-Sport Dallara-Nissan              +1 lap
     Sean Gelael         Double R Dallara-Merc             +23 laps
     Felix Serralles     Fortec Dallara-Merc               +24 laps

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