Alex Lynn romped away to his third FIA European F3 victory of the season at Vallelunga this morning.
Driving for Prema Powerteam, the Briton managed two safety car periods, but easily distanced himself from runner-up Alexander Sims and Daniil Kvyat under green conditions.
Lynn drew out a 1.3s lead after the opening lap, before the first safety car stoppage on lap 2, while he had opened up a 1.8s gap when the race restarted on lap four, extending to 5.9s when the second safety car period began on the tenth tour.
At the beginning of the final stint on lap thirteen Lynn was already 2.1s after one tour, before drawing out a 5 second advantage at the flag. For Lynn, everything was as close to perfect as possible. “Everything was perfect, the car was just fantastic – I haven’t been able to check out like that since 2011. Our pace was really strong. We had a set of new tyres and I knew that [Sims] didn’t, so when I was in the lead and he was 2nd, I knew that I should be faster, but didn’t expect to be that much faster.”
The first safety car emerged when Jann Mardenborough’s stricken Carlin could not be moved following a race start off, while the second came out when Lucas Wolf’s went off into the barriers.
However the Prema Powerteam racer had it all in hand. “I stayed up quite late last night – I couldn’t get to sleep, because I was thinking about [the starts] and the last thing I remember was racing someone and thinking ‘if the safety car comes out, where am I going to go and what am I going to do?’”
Lynn continued, “So I thought about it and it all seemed to go to plan. The car was magnificent and the pace was really good. I asked my engineer if we needed to use the tyres in race three and he said ‘no, no, but make sure you keep some life in them for restarts,’ so after I did three or four 1:29.3’s on the bounce and the gap was about 4.5s, he said to cool it a bit.”
On partially used tyres, Sims held Kvyat at bay for much of the running, until the Russian, too, began to drop slightly back, with the Englishman building a gap of around a second – just enough to keep him ahead of Kvyat’s Carlin.
Eddie Cheever enjoyed another magnificent drive to 4th, improving by one place from the opening race. Cheever enjoyed a 2.4s advantage over Lucas Auer, who had battled with Pipo Derani for much of the race, overtaking the Brazilian for 5th on the eighth lap.
Antonio Giovinazzi secured 7th place thanks to an early move on FIA F3 weekend rookie John Bryant-Meisner. Giovinazzi was shdowed across the line by the fast starting Sven Muller, who jumped from 15th to 9th on the opening tour, before following Giovinazzi passed Bryant-Meisner.
Title contender Felix Rosenqvist took 9th place overall, but claimed four points, as Kvyat is not registered in the championship. The Swede enjoyed another top drive, taking ten places on the opening lap before scything his way through the field as the race aged. From the lap four restart, Rosenqvist picked off Tom Blomqvist, Sean Gelael, Tatiana Calderon, Roy Nissany, Nicholas Latifi, Bryant-Meisner and the robust Dennis van de Laar.
Problems for Felix Serralles and Spike Goddard helped propel Rosenqvist into the 9th position, while Bryant-Meisner settled for 10th, just ahead of Latifi who claimed the final point.
Championship leader Raffaele Marciello retired on the grid, when a mechanical issue killed his engine. The Italian will start the final race in pole position; however is lead over Rosenqvist has been reduced to 28.5points.