Marco Wittmann claimed his 2nd win of the weekend in Round 15 of the 2011 F3 Euroseries on a very wet track ahead of championship leader Roberto Merhi. Once again the pair were locked entirely in a fight of their own as they gapped the chasing field early on. Daniel Abt finally put together a clean race to finish in 3rd place but a full 14 seconds behind the leaders.
Due to the soaking conditions, the race began behind the safety car and controlled the field for 3 laps, allowing the drivers to acclimatise to the tricky conditions. Wittmann led the field away as the racing commenced with Abt and Merhi close behind. It took until lap 10 for Merhi to pass the the Signature driver and start biting into Wittmann’s increasing lead. Once the Spaniard caught up however, superbly consistent driving from Wittmann offered Merhi no opportunities to pass and controlled the race until the flag fell on the 40th lap.
Wittmann said: “Also winning the second race in front of my home crowd at the Norisring is great. We managed to improve our car from yesterday to today. In this race, remaining focussed and not making any mistakes was particularly important because of the rain.”
Behind the top 3, Laurens Vanthoor made excellent progress to finish 4th after starting all the way back in 12th. The midfield saw little to no contact throughout the race, but there were spins aplenty, allowing a patient Felix Rosenqvist up into 5th place ahead of rookie Kuba Giermaziak, who scored the best Euro F3 result of his career. Jimmy Erkisson and Kimiya Sato were 7th and 8th respectively, while Sandro Zoller and Nigel Melker rounded out the top 10, albeit a lap down on the leaders.
Afterwards, Merhi claimed he could have achieved more without the safety car: “According to me, a safety car start wasn’t necessary. As I started from fourth place on the grid, a normal start would have been better for me.”
Abt simply seemed to be relieved to finally live up to his potential: “Finally, I have made it onto the podium at Norisring, too. Actually, it should have happened yesterday already, but two accidents prevented this. In the first race, I was a little bit too aggressive, when I collided with Laurens Vanthoor. In the second race, from my point of view the accident was rather Nigel Melker’s fault. Today, I really wanted to score a few points and that is what I did.”
Roberto Merhi still holds a firm lead of the overall championship standings – the F3 Euroseries leaves the Norisring with the championship as follows:
1 Merhi 200 pts, 2 Wittmann 169 pts, 3 Melker 150 pts, 4 Juncadella 141pts, 5th Vanthoor 114pts, 6th Rosenqvist 108 pts, 7th Abt 84, 8th Eriksson 65, 9 Munoz 64 pts, 10 Sato 46 pts etc.
Official Results: http://www.f3euroseries.com/ergebnisse/2011-07-03-r3.pdf
The 2011 F3 Euroseries continues in just over a month’s time at the NÃ¼rburgring for Rounds 16-18 on 5-8 July 2011.