Niko Kari: “I was really happy with the win”

by Paul Hensby

Niko Kari overcame Lance Stroll to secure his maiden FIA European Formula 3 Championship victory in race one at Imola on Saturday, but an engine penalty put paid to the rest of his weekend.

The young Red Bull-backed Finn made a great move around the outside of Stroll to assume the lead, and the Motopark driver was able to race away to take the chequered flag for his first victory of the season.

Unfortunately Kari was unable to do anything in the final two races due to his engine failing him in the second qualifying session, which gave him ten-place grid penalties for both races two and three, and he secured only two points across the final two races.

“The weekend started pretty well,” said Kari. “Quick in free practice and first qualifying, kept the pressure on Stroll in the race and managed to make the move to win at the right time.

“I went down the outside into turn one. I knew he didn’t want to crash into me so although there was a bit of a risk involved I though it was worth it and it paid off.

“I was really happy with the win but also to be fighting at the front like that. I think it was an important step forward, not just because of the result but to show I can race with those guys.

“Then we had the engine go in second qualifying and that left us with the grid penalties for Races 2 and 3. Not much to do from there so a disappointing Sunday but that’s racing. We have to think of Saturday, the pace was there and take that to the final races in Hockenheim.”

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