Stroll wins race two to clinch European Formula 3 title

by Paul Hensby

Lance Stroll clinched the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 Championship title with four races to spare after dominating race two at Imola on Sunday morning.

With his only remaining challenger for the title Maximilian Günther crashing out early, Stroll only needed to finish third in his Prema Powerteam machine to take the crown, but did not put a foot wrong all race long to take his tenth victory of 2016.

Joel Eriksson made another fabulous move around the outside of Tamburello to claim second place for Motopark, this time making the move stick around Hitech GP’s George Russell. Russell had earlier taken advantage of a mistake by Eriksson to go into second, but the Swede was not to be denied.

Ralf Aron took fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Guanyu Zhou of Motopark, while Anthoine Hubert was sixth in the leading Van Amersfoort Racing machine.

Prema Powerteam’s Nick Cassidy got the better of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Harrison Newey to take seventh, while Niko Kari recovered from a poor qualifying session due to engine issues to take ninth for Motopark ahead of Mücke Motorsports’ Mikkel Jensen.

Jensen had survived an earlier run through the gravel trap after a clash with Ben Barnicoat, but the subsequent safety cars allowed him to recover and claim the final point.

Sergio Sette Câmara was on course for a good result for Motopark, but the Red Bull-backed racer dropped out of the race with a couple of laps remaining having risen as high as fifth having started outside the top ten.

Three safety cars were needed throughout the race, with Callum Ilott causing the first when his car appeared to fail on him on the way to Rivazza that left him stranded in the gravel trap.

Günther’s crash as he exited the final corner caused the second, with the Prema Powerteam driver enduring a nightmare weekend where he needed a near perfect weekend to stay in contention for the title, but it was not to be for the German racer.

The third safety car was needed when David Beckmann of Mücke Motorsport crashed out of sixth place, but Stroll was able to control the restarts perfectly to retain his lead and clinch the title.

Imola Race 2 Result

11Lance StrollCANPrema Powerteam35:36.662
222Joel ErikssonSWEMotopark+1.399
312George RussellGBRHitech GP+2.883
416Ralf AronESTPrema Powerteam+3.917
523Guanyu ZhouCHNMotopark+4.897
621Anthoine HubertFRAVan Amersfoort Racing+5.990
72Nick CassidyNZLPrema Powerteam+6.552
820Harrison NeweyGBRVan Amersfoort Racing+7.202
910Niko KariFINMotopark+7.747
107Mikkel JensenDENMucke Motorsport+9.838
1111Nikita MazepinRUSHitech GP+10.858
125Pedro PiquetBRZVan Amersfoort Racing+11.139
1315Ukyo SasaharaJAPThreeBond with T-Sport+12.279
1414Wing Chung ChangMACThreeBond with T-Sport+15.068
RET9Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMotoparkRetired
RET8David BeckmannGERMucke MotorsportRetired
RET24Ben BarnicoatGBRHitech GPRetired
RET17Maximilian GuntherGERPrema PowerteamRetired
RET6Callum IlottGBRVan Amersfoort RacingRetired

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