Ahmed triumphs to leave Snetterton with British F3 points lead

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Douglas Motorsport’s Enaam Ahmed won a closely fought final race of the British Formula 3 season opener at Snetterton.

The 2015 MSA Formula rookie champion beat poleman Toby Sowery off the grid into Turn 1 and then held off the Lanan racer to win and take an early seven point lead in the championship from race one victor Lando Norris.

“I am really, really happy to progress from third in race one, second in race two and now winner in race three,” said Ahmed.

“It was not an easy race as I was struggling for pace a little bit but I controlled the gap fairly well.

“Toby and Lando were giving me a run for my money and it was hard to keep them behind as I hit a bollard down the straight and I thought that I might have broken my front wing for a second.”

Ahmed led throughout, but his victory was hard fought, with the top five cars covered by just two-seconds at the chequered flag, Ahmed winning from Sowery and Norris.

“I can’t complain with second or my weekend, as I’ve scored a good haul of points,” said runner-up Sowery.

“I was trying to attack Enaam but defend from Lando and that was really hard but it was good, competitive racing.”

Matheus Leist and Thomas Randle completed the closely covered top five, with Aleksanteri Huovinen and Sisa Ngebulana adrift in sixth and seventh respectively.

Ricky Collard fought his way from 19th on the grid to claim a distant eighth, with Thomas Maxwell and Ameya Vaidyanathan rounding out the top 10.

 

Cassidy joins Prema in European F3

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Japanese Formula 3 points leader Nick Cassidy will race for Prema Powerteam at the next two rounds of the European F3 Championship at Portimao and the Nurburgring.

Cassidy will replace Brandon Maisano at Prema after the Italian quit the team mid-event during the last round in Austria.

The 21-year-old, who scored a third place finish at Macau last year, last raced in European F3 in 2013.

“I would like to thank Prema Powerteam for this opportunity, one that I am really looking forward to,” said Cassidy.

“With their knowledge I am looking to learn as much as possible, to develop myself, with the aim of good results in these two race meetings.

“I am sure there will be a few little differences to racing in Japan, but I feel prepared, and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Prema team boss Rene Rosin added: “I am delighted to rely on Cassidy, a very quick and consistent driver who has not yet had the chance to show his real value at European level.

“I wish that, driving with Prema at Portimao, where two days of testing will be held before the race, and at Nurburgring, Nick will be able to score the results he deserves.”

Pommer scores maiden European F3 win at Zandvoort

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 7, race 3, Zandvoort (NED)

Markus Pommer took his maiden Formula 3 European Championship win in a crash-strewn final race of the weekend at Zandvoort

Pommer beat poleman Antonio Giovinzazzi off the grid to snatch the lead into Tarzan and survived three safety car periods to secure Motopark’s first European F3 win since 2011.

Matt Solomon prompted an early safety car after just four laps with an off, and no sooner was the race restarted it was back under caution after a clash between Gustavo Menezes and Mikkel Jensen left the latter in the barriers.

A third safety car followed just moments after the second restart, with Menezes and Nicholas Pohler involved in a heavy accident at Turn 2.

With time left for just four more laps following the final restart, Pommer cruised home to take the victory from Giovinazzi, with race two winner Felix Rosenqvist competing the podium.

Jake Dennis crossed the line fourth, ahead of Prema team-mate Lance Stroll and Carlin’s George Russell.

Motopark’s Sergio Sette Camara was seventh, with Alexander Albon and Santino Ferucci eighth and ninth for Signature and Mucke Motorsport respectively.

Charles Leclerc beat Ryan Tveter to take the final point on offer for 10th, but slips behind Giovinazzi in the championship standings.

Image courtesy of FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Euro F3: Rosenqvist wins at Zandvoort, as Leclerc crashes out

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Felix Rosenqvist took a comfortable victory in the second Formula 3 European Championship race of the weekend at Zandvoort, as points leader Charles Leclerc crashed out.

The Swede survived two safety car restarts to beat race one winner Antonio Giovinazzi.

Rosenqvist made a clean start from pole to cover Giovinazzi into Tarzan, but there was contact further down the field as Lance Stroll collided with Leclerc.

The Ferrari protege was out on the spot with a broken suspension, prompting an early safety car period.

Despite having to lift to allow a recovery vehicle to pull off the circuit, it was Rosenqvist that got the best of the restart, pulling a second clear of Giovinazzi before his lead was immediately wiped out as Leclerc crashed heavily, bringing out the safety car for a second time.

Rosenqvist had to defend his lead into Tarzan as Giovinazzi attacked off the restart, but the Italian could not match the Carlin racer, who cruised home to record his sixth win of the 2015 campaign.

Giovinazzi crossed the line second to cut Leclerc’s championship lead to just 9.5 points, the advantage having stood at 42.5 before the day’s racing.

Prema racer Jake Dennis bounced back from his retirement in race one to completed the podium, finishing third to end his run of four races without a point.

Markus Pommer was fourth for Motopark, ahead of Signature’s Alexander Albon and McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner George Russell in sixth.

Sergio Sette Camara came home seventh, with Mucke Motorsport team-mates Maximilian Gunther and Santino Ferrucci eighth and ninth respectively.

Carlin’s Ryan Tveter claimed his first ever European F3 point in 10th.

Image courtesy of FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Giovinazzi wins opening European F3 race at Zandvoort

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Antonio Giovinazzi took a lights-to-flag victory in a processional opening Formula 3 European Championship race of the weekend at Zandvoort.

The Carlin racer made a clean start from pole, covering Felix Rosenqvist into Tarzan, and led the Swede home to take a convincing fourth win of the season.

Motopark’s Marcus Pommer beat Ferrari protege Lance Stroll for third to claim his maiden podium finish in the series.

Points leader Charles Leclerc challenged for third off the start, but was crowded out into Tarzan, dropping behind Pommer and Stroll to fifth, where he ultimately finished.

McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner George Russell led home Signature’s Alexander Albon in sixth.

Mikkel Jensen crossed the line in eighth for Mucke Motorsport, after team-mate Santino Ferrucci was forced into the pits after a brief off.

Nabil Jeffri started just 11th after a five-place grid drop, but rallied to record his first points F3 points in ninth.

Prema’s Brandon Maisano rounded out the top 10 after Maximilian Gunther was forced to pit from the points with a broken front wing.

Red Bull-backed Callum Ilott was 11th for Carlin, while fellow Briton Sam Macleod charged from 21st on the grid to cross the line 12th in his Volkswagen-powered Motopark Dallara.

Prema’s Jake Dennis slipped from fourth on the grid to sixth, and then dropped out of contention entirely courtesy of a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.

The team opted to retire the Briton in the closing stages to conserve his tyres for race two.

Image courtesy of FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Red Bull confirms GT Academy star Mardenborough for GP3 with Arden in 2014

Red Bull Racing has signed Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough in a deal which will see the 22-year-old race for Arden in GP3 this year. 

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Mardenborough, who won the 2011 Nissan GT Academy programme, which offers video gamers the opportunity to become professional racing drivers, split his time in 2013 between single-seaters and endurance racing, finishing sixth overall in British Formula 3, while taking a podium on his debut at Le Mans, with third for Greaves Motorsport in the LMP2 class.

Mardenborough will join Robert Visoiu and Patric Niederhauser at Arden this year, as the team looks to take a third straight title, having run Mitch Evans and Toro Rosso F1 graduate Daniil Kvyat to the titles in 2012 and 2013.

“I feel ready for GP3,” said Mardenborough. “I’ve prepared well and I have all the right people around me to help my development so I can fully focus on my racing.

“F3 has taught me so many things, both in the car and out of the car, both mentally and physically. It was a great stage in my development and I’m sure the skills I’ve learnt there will help me in GP3 and beyond.

‘I’m excited to work with Arden. My initial impressions of them are excellent; they have a lot of experience and great success over the years. I’m looking forward to working with my race engineer Sean [McGill].”

“I haven’t raced the GP3 car yet,” he added. “But going on initial testing, I prefer the GP3 car to an F3 car. The power is very addictive! This season is my opportunity to impress more people in the sport who make the decisions on who makes it into F1 and who doesn’t and I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Andy Damerun, Red Bull Racing’s driver development manager, who will oversee Mardenborough’s progress, believes that Nissan’s GT Academy could signal a shift in the current state of affairs in the way young hopefuls progress up the motorsport ladder.

“We’re delighted to welcome Jann onto our programme,” said Damerum. “We have been tracking Nissan’s innovative approach to motorsport and in particular GT Academy that challenges the status quo of motorsport. The traditional route to F1 of karting and single-seaters is a tried and tested success but Nissan and PlayStation have gone down a very different road and started to find some very talented drivers who have been doing all their practicing on a games console.

“I’m very interested to see how Jann fares on our programme and in GP3 this season and I look forward to taking him under the Infiniti Red Bull Racing wing to further progress his career.”

Johnny Herbert, who oversaw the finalists of the 2011 GT Academy, of which Mardenborough was the winner, has applauded the 22-year-olds recent progress, and asserts that his success will only lead to more hopefuls following this new route into motorsport.

“I have been mightily impressed with what Jann has achieved since winning GT Academy,” said Herbert. “For someone with Jann’s experience doing so well is very rare to see.

“Last year he raced in the European F3 series which is hell of a tough challenge during your first season; the fact that it was Jann’s first season in any kind of single-seaters is incredible.

“Whilst he has had a very successful first year in GT racing and he has now got an amazing result at Le Mans 24 Hours under his belt, he is competing against drivers that have grown up with seasons of karting and single-seater experience behind them.

“His talent has not only impressed me, but has now got experienced figureheads in motorsport talking about what Jann, Nissan and GT Academy is achieving.

“The world of motorsport is recognising that GT Academy is helping bring talented young blood into the sport,” he added. “The success of Jann and other GT Academy winners is also inspiring a new legion of gaming and motorsport fans by giving them a new route to becoming a professional racing driver. The only question that remains unanswered is ‘Can a gamer make it all the way to F1?’”