Daniel Juncadella took the third and final race win of the inaugural 2011 Formula 3 Euroseries weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit.
The Spaniard led home a Prema Powerteam 1-2 as he finished ahead of fellow countryman and team-mate, Roberto Merhi by just under a second. Juncadella’s victory also promoted him to the top of the Euro F3 championship standings. The leading pair finished some 9 seconds ahead of 3rd place man, Marco Wittmann, as the team-mates streaked away from the chasing pack early on.
Juncadella hailed his competitive consistency over the weekend: “Three podium finishes in one weekend is a perfect start into the season. However, I am certain that the other teams will catch up and that things won’t be easy in the course of the season.” He also commented on his aggressive overtake on team-mate Merhi to take the lead, “My move to overtake Roberto Merhi was close, but it worked.”
However, in typically competitive spirit, Merhi downplayed his team-mate’s move on lap 15 of 19: “For Dani to overtake me wasn’t difficult, because he was coming out of the slipstream. Nevertheless, he drove a very good race. Of course, the result is fantastic for us as a team with first and second place.”
Signature’s Wittmann highlighted the influence of the softer Kuhmo tyres over the 40-minute race, but still conceeded defeat to the Prema Powerteam pair. “At the end of the race, I was having some problems with the tyres wearing out, but before that, the two Prema drivers were quicker as well. Now, we both have to work on our race and our qualifying performance as Prema is a step ahead of us at the moment.”
F3 rookie Nigel Melker put in another – and importantly legal – performance to take 4th place for MÃ¼cke Motorsport ahead of Signature’s Laurens Vanthoor. Felix Rosenqvist briefly threatened 4th and 5th place, but fell back from the pair soon afterwards.
Results - 19 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc 36m30.294s 2. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc + 0.955s 3. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW + 8.713s 4. Nigel Melker Mucke Dallara-Merc + 10.642s 5. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW + 13.896s 6. Jimmy Eriksson Motopark Dallara-VW + 20.236s 7. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW + 22.364s 8. Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW + 23.359s 9. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 27.630s 10. Gianmarco Raimondo Motopark Dallara-VW + 2 laps Retirements: Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc 10 laps Kuba Giermaziak Star Dallara-VW 0 laps
Rounds 4-6 take place at the at the Hockenheimring in Germany on 29 April – 1 May.