Marco Wittmann sealed victory in Round 14 of the 2011 F3 Euroseries ahead of rival Roberto Merhi. The second race of the weekend took place in more stable conditions and saw a close 24-lap duel between Wittmann and Merhi with the local German coming out on top.
Championship leader Merhi made a superb start and pounced from 6th on the grid into 2nd place, before slipping past Wittmann as soon as lap 2. The pair quickly left the chasing pack behind with Merhi edging out a small lead. On the 8th lap however, a small mistake saw Merhi run wide, allowing the chasing Wittmann back through into the lead. The cat and mouse chase began once again, but Wittmann remained impeccably consistent, forcing Merhi to settle for 2nd place.
Wittmann said afterwards: “At last, I have won my home race at Norisring. Initially, Roberto and I had more or less the same speed. Then, I could benefit from a mistake by him and then pull a gap. At the end, I drove victory home.”
Merhi was disappointed for losing the lead, but was happy to 2nd place and maintain his championship lead: “Initially, I was in the lead, but then I made a mistake. Maybe, I just wanted too much in this situation. Towards the end, I was able to close up to Marco again, but it wasn’t enough. I am happy with second place, which again brings some points for the drivers’ standings.”
There was plenty of action behind the leading pair right up until the final few laps. Round 13 winner Nigel Melker was running a defensive race to protect his podium position from Daniel Abt, but a hugely ambitious last-gasp lunge from Abt only resulted in contact. Melker was taken out on the spot and Abt was rewarded with a 30-second time penalty which dropped him down to 10th place. The incident promoted Daniel Juncadella up into 3rd, who until then had been driving a lonely race in 5th.
Juncadella was happy to take the final podium position: “I was lucky enough that Daniel and Nigel collided right in front of me and that Daniel got a penalty for that. Thus, I moved up into third place. Generally, this track doesn’t suit me and I am happy that I have made it on the podium here.”
Jimmy Eriksson crossed the line in 4th place ahead of fellow Swede Felix Rosenqvist and pole-sitter Alon Day. Temporary Round 13 winner Laurens Vanthoor came home in 8th just over 2 seconds ahead of Sandro Zoller, whilst the penalised Daniel Abt is officially classified 10th.
Merhi’s lead in the championship remains unaffected, as the Spaniard is clear by 34 points ahead of the unfortunate Melker, as Wittmann only lies 3rd in the standings and 4 points behind the Dutchman.
Sunday’s Race 3 begins at 10.15am local time (BST +1)
Full Official Results: http://www.f3euroseries.com/ergebnisse/2011-07-02-r2.pdf