Roberto Merhi claimed his 2nd win in 2 races in Round 17 of the 2011 F3 Euroseries Championship with a superb drive from 8th on the grid. The changeable conditions so familiar with Eifel mountain ranges also made a brief appearance in the latter half of the race, making Merhi’s run on slicks all the more impressive. Felix Rosenqvist and Laurens Vanthoor took 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Victory in Round 16 and a reversed top 8 grid meant Merhi started in 8th place, with Kimiya Sato on pole. Unlike Round 16 though, Merhi made a blistering start and charged his way down the inside into Turn 1. The championship leader emerged from Turn 4 a scarcely believable 2nd behind Nigel Melker. Polesitter Sato didn’t hold his lead for even a corner, the Motopark driver running wide (pictured above). The news soon got even better for Merhi, as Melker quickly received a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. The Dutchman duly entered the pits, handing Merhi 1st place.
The lingering clouds opened soon afterwards, starting with a drizzle before turning into a full, but short, rain shower. Suddenly conditions were perfect for Kuba Giermaziak, who gambled with wet tyres at the start of the race. But the shower passed after only a few laps, allowing the track to dry and sending Giermaziak back down the order.
Up front though, Merhi was unfazed as he led Rosenqvist home by 2.3 seconds, with Vanthoor a further 6 seconds down the road. Daniel Juncadella crossed the line in 4th place ahead of the recovering Sato. Melker managed to climb back to 6th place after serving his penalty.
Apparently, Merhi didn’t even think much of his excellent start: “My start was not so good, but I was in the right place in the first and second corner and I was able to make up positions. At the end, I took it cautiously because of the light rain.”
Rosenqvist was more pleased with his NÃ¼rburgring weekend: “So far, the weekend has been good for me with podium places after both races. At times, the race wasn’t easy for me. The first corner was very slippery in particular, the rest of the track was dryer.”
Sunday’s Round 18 Begins at 11.15am Local Time (BST +1)