Nigel Melker Wins Opening Race at the Nurburgring

The third round of the inaugural Formula Acceleration 1 series season got underway in Germany this weekend, and Dutchman Nigel Melker took his third victory of the season in race one at the Nurburgring.

The race started in chaotic fashion, when some drivers stopped in the wrong boxes on the formation lap, resulting in the race director sending them on a second formation lap. When the race got under way properly, pole sitter Melker had a poor start, which saw Mirko Bortolotti and Alessio Picariello draw alongside him and hit each other. Bortolotti dropped to tenth but Picariello, on debut in the series took the lead. Melker dropped to third behind Slovakian Richard Gonda.

Unfortunately for Picariello, he was called into the pits when the pit window opened, but his team were not ready for him and he was forced to make a second stop, relegating him down to fourth at the flag. Gonda and Melker pitted together, but Gonda lost time that resulted in him dropping behind the Dutchman who now took the lead. Gonda would eventually finish third.

Second place ultimately went to Bortolotti, who was the last driver to make his mandatory pit stop. Fifth went to Portuguese driver Armando Parente, with Mexican Michael Dorrbeckker in sixth. The final finisher was Spaniard Oliver Campos in seventh, but the day belonged to Melker.

“It was a crazy race,” said Melker. “My start was not good, so I lost some positions. Then I saw Mirko Bortolotti and my team mate Alessio Picariello crash into each other after the first corner.

“When the pit lane opened, I got a call to go into the pit box. But then I saw my team-mate go in and I decided to go in the next lap. Picariello’s tyres were not ready, so he had to make two pit stops. I went in the pit lane together with Gonda.”

Bortolotti was surprised to take second after the first lap crash relegated him down into tenth.

“It was incredible that I kept my engine running after Picariello drove into me after the first chicane,” admitted Bortolotti. “It destroyed my start and I ended at the back of the field. From there I started to push as hard as I could. For me it felt like challenging for the win of the season. I am really happy to be second, but pissed off at the moment to give my opponent enough room to crash into me.” 

Third placed Gonda was disappointed to have suffered the bad pit stop that ultimately lost him the lead and the potential for the win.

“Unfortunately I lost some positions again after my pit stop,” said Gonda. “I have to learn that a bit more, but I hope that will come race by race.”

Nurburgring Race 1 Result

1 Nigel Melker Netherlands 29m07.011s
2 Mirko Bortolotti Italy +8.754s
3 Richard Gonda Slovakia +20.786s
4 Alessio Picariello Belgium +24.297s
5 Armando Parente Portugal +29.800s
6 Michael Dorrbeckker Mexico +47.644s
7 Oliver Campos Spain +1m17.047s
RET Jimmy Eriksson Sweden 10 Laps
RET Dennis Lind Denmark 9 Laps
RET Picho Toledano Mexico 6 Laps
RET Sergio Campana Italy 1 Lap
RET Sebastian Balthasar Germany 0 Laps