F3: Ericsson makes it two as Grubmuller breaks his duck

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarSunday, June 7th, 2009

 
 

Carlin’s Daniel Ricciardo emerged from the Hockenheimring still leading the British F3 International Series championship, despite not managing to finish better than fourth in either race.

A maiden win for Walter Grubmuller in race two saw him move into second place while Nick Tandy rode out a difficult weekend that left him placed third. Late entrant Marcus Ericsson is fourth after adding a win in the opening race to his victory in race two at Rockingham last weekend.

Qualifying: veteran van der Zander does his stuff

During Friday’s round seven qualifying session Hockenheim veteran Renger van der Zande of Hitech posted the fastest lap time of the season at 1:32.965.

The 23-year-old Dutchman was the only driver break the 1:33 barrier with the help of his Mercedes-powered Dallara. He was also half a second inside this year’s F3 Euro Series pole time.

Daniel Ricciardo was second and Raikkonen Robertson’s Marcus Ericsson third. Max Chilton in ninth was the highest-placed Brit in fourth while Riki Christodoulou was ninth and last weekend’s round three victor, Nick Tandy of JTR Mygale, tenth.

In Saturday’s round eight qualifying Hitech celebrated a second pole position with Austrian driver Walter Grubmüller topping the timesheets on 1:34.451. This time Van der Zande went second fastest to lock out the front row for the team.

Carlin team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Chilton were third and fourth fastest with Brits Christodoulou seventh, Wayne Boyd ninth, Tandy 10th and Jay Bridger 11th.

Round seven: Eriksson snatches his chance for victory

Marcus Ericsson scored his second successive victory in Saturday’s race after leading almost from the start of the race. The Swede made an excellent start from third, beating pole-sitter van der Zander and championship leader Daniel Ricciardo to the first corner.

He went on to lead all the way to the chequered flag, with Walter Grubmuller beating Ricciardo to the final podium step, leaving second-place Van der Zande to regret the first-lap error which cost him his second British F3 win.

Eriksson said: “By mid point I pulled a gap on Renger, but then I made a silly, silly mistake into the hairpin and he overtook me, so I had to fight back at the next corner. I did it, thank goodness, because otherwise I would have been very disappointed.”

Chilton was fifth and Boyd eighth, with Bridger 11th and Henry Arundel 13th.

Christodoulou lasted less than a full lap after being caught up in a three-car collison at the outset. Tandy had a poor start and got away last, eventually finishing eighth before being excluded for a technical infringement following the accidental blockage of an air intake.

Round eight: Grubmuller breaks his duck

Walter Grubmüller may be the most experienced of the series competitors but today was his maiden win – earned with a commanding lights-to-flag lead.

Despite a treacherous damp track the Austrian did not put a wheel wrong, and crossed the line a second clear of his team-mate van der Zande, to score a one-two for Hitech Racing. Canadian Robert Wickens was a close third for the Carlin Motorsport team.

Grubmüller, now second in the championship, said: “It’s excellent. This was a real team effort after all the misery we went through last year. We knew we would be quick here. I’m really happy; the team really deserves it.”

It was an unpredictable race with several spinners in the early laps and quite a few more finding their cars ill-suited to the damp conditions.

Hitech was the exception to this rule with Grubmüller snatching the lead at the off ahead of Ericsson who overhauled Chilton early on to stick like glue to Grubmüller’s tail for five laps, falling back as the track dried.

Van der Zande pushed past Ericsson for second and was able to hang on to his team-mate’s tail for the remaining 12 laps.

The battle for third provided the highlight of a thrilling race, as cars fought and collided in the bid to secure the third podium slot. Chilton ran third for several laps until Canada’s Robert Wickens seized the position with an audacious move up his inside.

Next lap Chilton had to pit with a broken wheel which forced him down to 16th while Boyd was caught up in the same accident and was forced into retirement with a damaged rear wing.

Tandy was promoted to fourth by the incident with the driver right on the leading trio’s tail for three laps before spinning away his chances of victory. “I was trying too hard to win and I spun right around,” he said afterwards.

He finished sixth, one behind highest-placed British driver Christodoulou. Henry Arundel was ninth, National Class contender Daniel McKenzie tenth overall and winner of his class.

Check out the full results and standings on the British F3 International website >>

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