Marciello crowned the King of Pau
Swiss-born Italian racer Raffaele Marciello claimed the 73rd Grand Prix de Pau in glorious style on Sunday.
The Prema Powerteam pilot took pole position for both races despite a difficult Friday that saw him make light contact with Pau’s unforgiving barriers amidst the grubby French heat.
Thereafter Marciello took the honours in style – first by showcasing his advantage against British Formula 3 frontrunner Jazeman Jaafar in the opening race, before dominating Sunday’s feature event, well ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Race One (Saturday May 12th)
Indeed Saturday’s race win was Marciello’s first under FIA Formula 3 rules, when he earned a 6.7 second gap over Jaafar (Carlin), while an embattled Alex Lynn (Fortec) took 3rd overall.
Marciello led from the start, chased initially by Prema teammate Daniel Juncadella and Mücke Motorsport’s Pascal Wehrlein.
With the leader having grafted a two-second advantage, Juncadella left the door slightly open ahead of Wehrlein, allowing the 3rd place man to dive down the inside of the Spaniard at the tight turn four.
Locking wheels, the pair drew to a halt, blocking the circuit and ensuring a mid-race safety car, while a furious Juncadella was left to gesticulate at Wehrlein.
Fortec’s Pipo Derani was also caught up in the incident with his route around the corner blocked, causing the Brazilian to lose his engine. Unfortunately for Derani, it was deemed that the marshal’s gave him outside assistance to restart, earning a black flag for his troubles.
Meanwhile, Marciello continued after the restart and built a significant gap to Jaafar to ensure full honours for Saturday.
Running 4th, Jaafar now slotted into 2nd spot, although a brief challenge across the line as the safety car withdrew alerted Marciello to Jaafar’s threat.
Marciello pulled clear bit-by-bit each lap around, although Jaafar had enough of a gap over Lynn to be sure of his runner-up spot. The second place finish would also ensure Jaafar claimed his first British F3 class victory.
Lynn held Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport) off for the distance, despite momentarily losing his engine when the Juncadella / Wehrlein incident occurred.
Behind him Jack Harvey led home a trio of Carlin cars. The 19-year-old, who lost out to Rosenqvist off the line, spent much of the race holding Sainz Jr at bay, until a late burst pulled him clear of the Spaniard.
Harry Tincknell enjoyed a solid day, going from 11th to 7th, as the Englishman sneaked by Felix Serralles when the field bunched up at the turn four melee. Fahmi Ilyas took a credible 9th overall. The Malaysian narrowly led a quartet of contenders across the finish line, with Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam, 10th), Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec, 11th) and Sven Muller (Prema Powerteam, 12th) all covered by a mere 1.7 seconds.
In the National Class, T-Sport’s Spike Goddard claimed yet another class win when Duvashen Padayachee failed to start.
Despite only just returning from a bout of appendicitis, the Australian displayed excellent pace and even challenged International Class competitor Geoff Uhrhane (Double R) for position in the latter half of the race.
Goddard also held F3 Euro Series regular Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Team) off until the flag to complete a satisfying day.
FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 1, May 12th, 23 laps)
[also British F3 Series (Rd 3, Race 1)]
Pos Driver Team Time / Gap
1. Raffaele Marciello Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 29:54.589
2. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin-Volkswagen +6.734
3. Alex Lynn Fortec-Mercedes +8.057
4. Felix Rosenqvist Mücke Motorsport-Mercedes +8.813
5. Jack Harvey Carlin-Volkswagen +12.329
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin-Volkswagen +15.351
7. Harry Tincknell Carlin-Volkswagen +16.099
8. Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes +16.928
9. Fahmi Ilyas Double R-Mercedes +23.716
10. Michael Lewis Prema Powerteam-Mercedes +24.465
11. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec-Mercedes +25.155
12. Sven Muller Prema Powerteam-Mercedes +25.498
13. Tom Blomqvist ma-con Motorsport-Volkswagen +27.434
14. Pietro Fantin Carlin-Volkswagen +28.120
15. Nick McBride T-Sport-Nissan +29.738
16. Geoff Uhrhane Double R-Mercedes +36.887
17. Spike Goddard T-Sport-Mugen Honda +37.434
18. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Team-Mercedes +39.384
19. Andre Roda Jo Zeller Team-Mercedes +1 lap
Pipo Derani Fortec-Mercedes 12 laps
Daniel Juncadella Prema Powerteam-Mercedes 8 laps
Pascal Wehrlein Mücke Motorsport-Mercedes 8 laps
Emil Bernstorff ma-con Motorsport-Volkswagen 0 laps
Duvashen Padayachee Double R-Mugen Honda 0 laps
Race Two – the 73rd Grand Prix de Pau (Sunday May 13th)
Marciello claimed the Grand Prix de Pau in an emphatic style in the southern French town on Sunday afternoon, untouched by threats from fellow podium finishers Sainz Jr and Jaafar.
The Prema Powerteam pilot built a gap of 14.3 seconds to Sainz Jr in the early running, but lost much of that amidst lapped traffic. Undeterred, the Ferrari junior racer spread his wings once again, extending his lead to 13.1 seconds as he took the chequered flag.
While Sainz Jr and Jaafar fought in the distance, Marciello proved imperious out front, as he took the 73rd Grand Prix de Pau.
“It’s fantastic, because the car was perfect. Forty minutes is a very long race, but I make the car last very easily – it was very good. It was difficult with the tyres, because [last night] it rained, so after six laps, I had a little problem with the tyres, but it was not too big.
“[Concentration] was very difficult … when you’re over ten seconds ahead of the next guy, […] you don’t push the limit, so you relax and can make an error.”
Although Sainz Jr ended the day 2nd overall, the Spaniard was classed the top British F3 runner. It is a result that gives the Carlin racer the top spot in both the British F3 Series and joint-leader of the FIA European F3 Championship with Juncadella.
Sainz Jr had more than just Jaafar to contend with though – for much of the race, the Spaniard held off a train of up to nine cars, but the Carlin man played a canny game to keep 2nd spot, as others began to fall away.
“I am happy because obviously to win the British Formula 3 race is good, and to be leading the championship – it’s a really good start to the season. But in particular with this race I am not so happy – the Prema guys were so much faster and we were struggling to find grip; it’s a lesson that we must learn from.”
Jaafar, too, was feeling the pressure – this time from Juncadella. The 2011 Macau Grand Prix winner ducked and dived around Jaafar’s mirrors, but the Mercedes-powered racer could do nothing to get by the Malaysian. Unsurprisingly, Jaafar was disappointed to not make it two class wins over the course of the weekend.
“It was a very tough race, one of the toughest I have done. I was chasing Carlos and really wanting that second place and the British F3 win, but at the same time I had Dani behind me the whole race and he’s so quick. It was hard to manage the situation for 40 minutes.”
Come the line, the trio would only be split by 1.061 seconds – in fact, the gap was rarely ever larger than that.
Derani took 5th for Fortec. The Brazilian spent much of the race in a frustrating 6th place, only to pounce on Rosenqvist’s sole mistake 25 laps in. Rosenqvist refused to give in and – like Juncadella – proceeded to show his face in Derani’s eyeline, hoping desperately for an error, but none came.
It was a disappointment, of course, for Rosenqvist, yet the Mücke Motorsport racer can take some pleasure from a stunning start that saw him jump from 9th to 5th by turn one.
Lynn stuck to Derani’s wheel tracks early on, but lost sight of the Brazilian once he had jumped Rosenqvist. It was the same story for both Harvey (8th) and Wehrlein (9th) who struggled to make an impression on Lynn.
Prema Powerteam’s Sven Muller rounded out the top ten just ahead of teammate Lewis, ensuring that the gap from 2nd to 11th was a mere 8.73 seconds.
It was not all plain sailing amongst the pack. Harry Tincknell (Carlin), Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec) and Andrea Roda (Jo Zeller Team) all ended their Pau adventures in the barriers, while both Geoff Uhrhane and Felix Serralles suffered early punctures.
Tom Blomqvist (ma-con Motorsport) also pitted to repair damage, as did Goddard (T-Sport) who early race troubles handed the National Class win to Padayachee.
FIA European F3 Championship (Rd 2, Race 2, May 13th, 33 laps)
[also British F3 Series (Rd 3, Race 2)]
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 40m02.512s
2. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.129s
3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.817s
4. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 14.190s
5. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc + 15.797s
6. Felix Rosenqvist Mucke Dallara-Merc + 16.500s
7. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Merc + 17.510s
8. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 19.062s
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Dallara-Merc + 19.835s
10. Sven Muller Prema Dallara-Merc + 20.939s
11. Michael Lewis Prema Dallara-Merc + 21.861s
12. Pietro Fantin Carlin Dallara-VW + 34.069s
13. Emil Bernstorff ma-con Dallara-VW + 37.861s
14. Nick McBride T-Sport Dallara-Nissan + 54.307s
15. Fahmi Ilyas Double R Dallara-Merc + 57.908s
16. Sandro Zeller Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc + 1 lap
17. Duvashen Padayachee Double R Dallara-Mugen + 1 lap
18. Geoff Uhrhane Double R Dallara-Merc + 1 lap
19. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc + 2 laps
20. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Mugen + 2 laps
21. Tom Blomqvist ma-con Dallara-VW + 2 laps
Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec Dallara-Merc 13 laps
Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW 9 laps
Andrea Roda Jo Zeller Dallara-Merc 1 lap
FIA European Formula 3 Championship standings (Rd 2, Race 2)
Pos Driver Points
1. Daniel Juncadella 62 points
2. Carlos Sainz Jr 62
3. Raffaele Marciello 58
4. Felix Rosenqvist 50
5. William Buller 20
6. Sven Muller 11
7. Tom Blomqvist 6
8. Pascal Wehrlein 6
9. Lucas Wolf 4
10. Michael Lewis 3
British Formula 3 Series standings (Rd 3, Race 2)
Pos Driver Points
1. Carlos Sainz 104 points
2. Jazeman Jaafar 101
3. Jack Harvey 83
4. Felix Serralles 73
5. Alex Lynn 64
6. Pipo Derani 61
7. Harry Tincknell 48
8. Pietro Fantin 48
9. Hannes van Asseldonk 25
10. Nick McBride 24
Pos Driver Points
1. Spike Goddard 141
2. Duvashen Padayachee 102
Watch British F3 on Motors TV throughout 2012
Leigh O'Gorman - The Motorsport Archive
Published 14/05/2012 13:44
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