The middle of October and it was an uneasy weekend for some of Raffaele Marciello more devoted fans.
Come the penultimate round of last year’s FIA European F3 Championship at Vallelunga, smoke began to billow from the Swiss-Italian racer’s Dallara. A moment of hesitation, a brief stall and the temperatures began to rise until the engine seized under the pressure.
Under the lights, Marciello’s Mercedes-powered Prema Powerteam machine clung resolutely to its grid slot, while the field dodged and edged their way around the obstacle. From that moment, poleman Alex Lynn was away and gone – this race was his.
Meanwhile starting last, Marciello’s sole title challenger, Felix Rosenqvist, cut through the pack, but despite the aggression Vallelunga is not the most forgiving of tracks for those lodged in the pack.
Rosenqvist eventually claimed 9th to nab a few points – not enough in the end however. Despite the obvious disappointment, Marciello was able to breathe a sigh of relief. On a different day at a different circuit, the outcome could have been very, very different.
That weekend, I happened to be staying in the same lodge as the “Lello” fans and while still reasonably confident, the mood had noticeably sullied. A week later at the Hockenheimring, Marciello finished the job once and for all. This time there were no mistakes.
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