Prema Powerteam dominated the Formula 3 Euro Series’ visit to the renovated Red Bull Ring in Spielberg in Austria, as its Spanish driver pairing of Roberto Merhi and Daniel Juncadella shared the three race wins between them.
Juncadella came out on top in qualifying on Friday, taking pole position for both Race 1 and Race 3. In Race 1, Merhi got the better of Juncadella at the start to take the lead of the race. From there he drove an error-free race to score his fourth victory of the season.
“The race was really good and also relatively easy,” said Merhi. “It was great fun. Initially, I was able to pull a little gap over Daniel, but in the second half of the race, he closed up again. The set-up of our car was great, too, as our first and second place show.”
Juncadella finished one second behind Merhi, with Marco Wittmann third, eight seconds further back. Tom Dillmann finished fourth on his Euro Series return with Motopark Academy, having taken the place from Nigel Melker. Signature teammates Daniel Abt and Laurens Vanthoor finished sixth and seventh, with Gianmarco Raimondo eighth after his switch from Motopark to Prema.
The reverse grid for Race 2 left Merhi starting in eighth place, but he drove a brilliant race in extreme wet conditions to move through the field and win again. The rain meant the first two laps were run under the safety car. Polesitter Raimondo held onto his lead for seven laps but could not stay there once Merhi challenged him. The Spaniard went on to win by eight seconds.
“Everything is perfect,” said Merhi afterwards. “I have won this morning and now again having started eighth. That is the way I like it. This afternoon, it was even better, because I have won with a margin of more than eight seconds, although I had to slow down on the last two laps due to yellow flags. I like driving in such conditions.”
Raimondo ran wide having been passed, allowing Vanthoor into second place. A collision between Raimondo and Dillmann soon afterwards gave third place to Abt. Kimiya Sato came home in fourth, ahead of Motopark teammate Jimmy Eriksson and Juncadella. Raimondo made it to the flag in seventh with Kuba Giermaziak eighth.
Starting from pole again in the third race, Juncadella got it right this time. He was able to take a comfortable victory as Merhi and Felix Rosenqvist collied on the opening lap as they fought over second place, sending both into retirement.
Juncadella said: “I concentrated on making a good start and I succeeded. Of course, it was my luck that Felix Rosenqvist and Roberto Merhi retired directly behind me. The car ran perfectly, I became faster and faster.”
Melker and Dillmann joined Juncadella on the podium, with Abt fourth ahead of Signature teammate Carlos Munoz. Eriksson, Vanthoor and Raimondo rounded out the top eight.
Merhi’s championship lead stands at 28 points, with Juncadella now back in second place. He benefited from a double non-score from Wittmann, who has now slipped to fourth behind Melker. The next round takes place at the Norising on 2-3 June.