Jean Karl Vernay took victory in the final race of the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries, after changing conditions meant many drivers gambled on tyre choice.
There were three approaches to the race, taking place on a drying track. Some, like Vernay and newly-crowned champion Jules Bianchi started on wets and changed to slicks mid-way through the race. Others such as Valtteri Bottas went with wets but stuck it out until the end, falling way off the pace in the closing laps. And Christopher Zanella almost pulled off a miracle by starting the race on slicks.
At the start, Roberto Mehri lead the wet runners out front, while Regner van der Zande led a group of cars on slicks. At one point, Mehri was 40 seconds ahead of van der Zande, but then the track came to those at the pack of the pack .
By now the slick runners were making huge inroads on the wet runners, and while Bottas took the lead from Mehri out front, Van der Zande and Alexander Sims were closing in very fast. However, the duo were involved in a collision with Tiago Geronimi, taking all three cars out in the process.
This promoted Zanella to the fastest slick runner and duly flew past those who were still struggling on with wets. But it wasn’t enough, as Vernay was on a charge with fresh slicks, with Zanella helpless on the final lap, being passed by the Frenchman on the last lap.
Mirko Bortolotti took third and his maiden podium in his debut race weekend in the series, who had also started on slicks. Marco Wittmann had also made up ground after a mid-race pitstop, and recovered to 4th, ahead of Bottas who was still on wets at the finish.
Esteban Gutierrez took the final point in 6th, while Bianchi took 7th despite spinning out and stalling his car in the process.
Vernay summed up the race about as well as anyone could after what had been one of the most chaotic races of the season.
“The race was really crazy,” he said. “I got slicks with 14 laps to go and was well able to move up to the front. I am happy that I still ended up fifth in the points' standings with this victory because that was my goal for the weekend.”
Race Two Results
1. Jean-Karl Vernay Signature Dallara-Volkswagen 40mins 50.329secs
2. Christopher Zanella* Motopark Academy Dallara-Mercedes +0.723secs
3. Mirko Bortolotti Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +9.301secs
4. Marco Wittmann* Mucke Dallara-Mercedes +13.055secs
5. Valtteri Bottas* ART Grand Prix Dallara-Mercedes +20.948secs
6. Esteban Gutierrez ART Grand Prix Dallara-Mercedes +30.929secs
7. Jules Bianchi ART Grand Prix Dallara-Mercedes +41.830secs
8. Henkie Waldschmidt SG Formula Dallara-Mercedes +44.788secs
9. Stefano Coletti Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes +54.309secs
10. Adrien Tambay* ART Grand Prix Dallara-Mercedes +54.523secs
11. Johan Jokinen* Kolles & Heinz Dallara-Volkswagen +1min 00.248secs
12. Pedro Enrique Manor Dallara-Mercedes +1 lap
13. Roberto Mehri Manor Dallara-Mercedes 19 laps
14. Alex Sims* Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 18 laps
15. Jake Rosenweig* Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 18 laps
16. Renger van der Zande Motopark Academy Dallara-Mercedes 17 laps
17. Tiago Geronimi* Signature Dallara-Volkswagen 17 laps
18. Edoardo Mortara Kolles & Heinz Dallara-Volkswagen 15 laps
19. Victor Garcia Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 10 laps
20. Mika Maki Signature Dallara-Volkswagen 10 laps
21. Nico Moninen Mucke Dallara-Mercedes 10 laps
22. Basil Shaaban Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes 10 laps
23. Andres Caldarelli* SG Formula Dallara-Mercedes 6 laps
24. Tom Dilmann HBR Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 1 lap