RICCIARDO WINS IN MALAYSIA MAX IN SECOND KABLAMO FOR LCH
Event: 09 Imola
Session: Race 1
Track: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari / Italy
Pole position: Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Niko Kari (Motopark)
Weather: sunny, 23.4 °C
With a courageous overtaking move after the restart following the second safety car intervention, Niko Kari (Motopark) caught out Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and went on to win the 25th race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. At the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, points’ leader Stroll finished in second place while Joel Eriksson (Motopark) reached the finish in third place. As Stroll’s main rival Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) finished twelfth and didn’t score any points, the Williams F1 team development driver now has a 86 points’ margin in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings. In its home round at Imola, Italian squad Prema Powerteam already wrapped up the title in the teams’ standings.
The race started well for Lance Stroll, who managed to convert his pole position into the race lead. After Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) had beached his car in the gravel trap on lap six, the safety car was deployed. After the restart, Stroll held on to his lead. On lap 13, David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) also stranded in the gravel trap following a duel with Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark), which caused the second safety car intervention. As racing resumed two laps later, Niko Kari then made a move on Lance Stroll, taking the outside line into the first corner to overtake the Canadian. Having led the field for six laps, the Finnish Red Bull junior driver then celebrated his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win.
Behind him, Lance Stroll and Joel Eriksson finished in second and third place respectively, followed by Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam). Because the New-Zealander had exceeded the track limits during the race, he was given a 20 seconds’ post-race time penalty, after which he dropped back to tenth. George Russell (HitechGP), Anthoine Hubert (Van Amersfoort Racing), Guanyu Zhou (Motopark), Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam), Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP) and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) were classified in fourth to ninth place in that order.
Niko Kari (Motopark): “It was a good race and scoring my maiden victory in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a nice feeling. In the first part of the race, I tried to save my tyres as much as possible. At the second restart, I had to make my move on Lance, even though it wasn’t without risk. However, it worked out and I was able to win the race. Now, however, our full focus is on second qualifying this afternoon.”
Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “My start and my first restart were good and even at the second restart, I didn’t do anything wrong. However, Niko was close enough to benefit from the slipstream and overtake me going into the first corner. I didn’t want to take too many risks while defending my position, because I didn’t want to risk a retirement. I scored solid points by finishing second, which is more important for me at the moment.”
Joel Eriksson (Motopark): “Initially, I was as quick as the drivers up front, but first of all, I had to work my way past Anthoine Hubert, George Russell and Nick Cassidy. After that, I tried to increase the pressure on Lance, but I wasn’t able to topple him from second place.”
Host of the penultimate round of the Renault Sport Trophy and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Circuit Spa-Francorchamps was the decider for the first titles of the year at the conclusion of an action-packed weekend. While fans could take in the many activities in the Village alongside the Renault display, eyes were also peered towards Robert Kubica, making a return to circuit racing, but also on newly crowned champions Lando Norris and Fabian Schiller. Renault Sport Formula One Team test driver, Nicholas Latifi also thrilled the public with the F1 demonstration runs!
|Norris becomes the youngest Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 laureate|
|Discreet during practice against local driver Max Defourny (R-ace GP), Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) found is form on Saturday taking pole position. Avoiding all the pitfalls of the Belgian circuit, the rookie of the year scored big points, finishing on the podium next to Tech 1 Racing team mates Hugo de Sadeleer, who claimed his maiden win, and Dorian Boccolacci.|
|With his back against the wall, Max Defourny came out swinging on Sunday, taking the pole, but the Belgian driver got swallowed up by the draft and an animated field. Once again, Lando Norris drove error-free and second place behind Dorian Boccolacci was good enough to sew up the title. Hugo de Sadeller completed the podium.|
|While Lando Norris follows Jack Aitken in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 record books, the battle rages on among Dorian Boccolacci, Max Defourny and Harrison Scott for the overall top-three. The final round at Estoril promises to be explosive!|
As always, the huge stand at the Shanghai International Circuit was packed to capacity when the cars lined up on the starting grid. For the reverse-grid opening race, Yvan Muller and José María López started from eighth and tenth positions respectively.
SLR driver Tom Chilton got off to a flyer in his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, moving into second place. Back in the chasing pack, Yvan Muller and José María López were engaged in something of a free-for-all. The Citroën Total drivers ended lap 1 in sixth and ninth respectively, with their cars already a little bruised and battered from their rivals’ attacks!
On lap 2, Yvan snatched fifth place, while Pechito found himself in a fight for seventh. The safety car made an appearance after Filippi was forced to abandon, causing the cars to bunch up somewhat before hostilities resumed for a further eleven laps.
Shortly afterwards, there was a turning point as Tarquini ran into Chilton. Both drivers were forced to withdraw from the race, enabling Yvan Muller to climb to third behind Michelisz and Björk. José María López also moved up into fifth.
The crowd was exhilarated as the gaps between the top five closed up with three laps remaining. The top two made contact on several occasions, with Björk eventually emerging victorious, ahead of Michelisz, Muller, López and Catsburg!
After the podium ceremony, the mechanics had just a few minutes’ repair time to remove all traces of the jousting of the opening race. Their sterling work meant José María López and Yvan Muller were able to go into the main race with their cars in perfect condition.
Once again, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs started superbly. Poleman José María López was the first man to turn, followed by Yvan Muller and Mehdi Bennani. The leader wasted no time in opening up a gap between himself and his teammate. In a much less turbulent race than the first, Pechito never looked back, speeding to his eighth win of the season.
Yvan Muller, meanwhile, held off Mehdi Bennani to clinch a second Shanghai podium spot. That rounded off an excellent weekend for Yvan, which saw him score 36 points, compared with 5 for his nearest rival for the Championship runner-up spot.
Mehdi Bennani beamed from the third step of the podium, having achieved his primary goal by winning the WTCC Trophy for independent drivers. The Moroccan driver saw off the challenge of his teammate Tom Chilton with a meeting to spare.