Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas, BF3 Correspondents
At the Norisring this afternoon, after another somewhat chaotic race, Harry Tincknell (Carlin) claimed victory both overall and in the British F3 International Series, though he was harried almost all the way to the flag by Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport), the Puerto Rican youngster doggedly attached to the leader’s rear wing as if he was super-glued there. They were chased home by Pascal Wehrlein (Mücke Motorsport), the latter also there or thereabouts once he got past Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport) who was 4th overall and 2nd in the Euroseries, ahead of William Buller (Carlin). Jack Harvey (Carlin) ended the afternoon 3rd in the British series and 7th overall. In the National Class, Richard “Spike” Goddard (T-Sport) again came out the winner ahead of Duvashen Padayachee (Double R Racing).
The race got off to a bit of an odd start, with the pre-race favourites Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) and Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) on the 14th and last row of the grid, Marciello because his car had had an engine change, and as a Euroseries competitor he was thus docked 10 grid places, Juncadella for causing two avoidable collisions in Race 1.
At the opposite end of the grid, Tincknell reckoned he had a plan, and that plan was to get as far down the road away from the rest of them as he could, and stay there. It seemed like a good plan, but the question was could he make it stick? He nearly didn’t when he made a less than brilliant start, but the squabbling pack were too busy with each other to notice and so he was still ahead when they reached the Grundig hairpin. Behind him Serralles was up to 3rd after a superb start, just behind Rosenqvist but it was all something of a waste of effort because trouble had already kicked off in the middle of the field.
Emil Bernstorff (ma-con Motorsport) was in the wall, and Fahmi Ilyas (Double R Racing) was limping round with suspension damage, while Rosenqvist was lucky to escape relatively unscathed after he brushed the wall at the S-Kurve and Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin) was still out on the track but with a newly air-conditioned Dallara after he had punched a hole in the nose in the scramble to get round the first hairpin. Nick McBride (ThreeBond with T-Sport) was also in trouble with damage from the barriers and was also under investigation for his part in the mayhem. With so much wreckage around our old friend the Safety Car driver got another outing as the marshals worked to clear the track.
The field settled down behind the nice, shiny white Mercedes with Tincknell ahead of Rosenqvist, Serralles, Wehrlein, Buller, Tom Blomqvist (ma-con Motorsport), Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam), Harvey, Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Pietro Fantin (Carlin). 11th was Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), from Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport), Geoff Uhrhane (Double R Racing), Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec Motorsport), Luis Sá Silva (URD Rennsport), Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam), Goddard, Sainz Jr who was slipping back after his attack on the barriers, Andrea Roda (Jo Zeller Racing) and Philip Ellis (GU-Racing). In 21st overall was Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport), then Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport), Padayachee, Marciello and Juncadella.
At the restart Tincknell controlled matters beautifully while the two Felixes swapped places, Serralles getting the drop on Rosenqvist to go after Tincknell. Just behind them Blomqvist was on the offensive too, and was all over Buller, looking for a way past. Buller was having none of it, and resisted for all he was worth.
Meanwhile Wehrlein ran up the back of Muller and skittered off the track, nose all askew, thus promoting Harvey (who had profited from all the chaos to leapfrog to 3rd in class) to 7th in his stead. It was getting messy all over again, especially from 9th place backwards where Zeller was basically acting like a cork in a bottle and was holding up a whole host of much faster men. The trouble was no one could figure out how to get past him and they were all tripping over each other as a result.
By lap 9 there were around 10 cars in the bunch and it wasn’t showing any sign of resolving itself any time soon. The mass of Dallaras by then included Fantin, Jaafar, van Asseldonk, Uhrhane, Lewis, Sainz Jr, Sa Silva, Roda and Juncadella, and it was getting very fraught. Jaafar seemed to be having a particularly tough time of it and ran wide more than once. He was lucky it didn’t cost him any places.
That wasn’t the only action going on either. Ahead of the Zeller train, Wehrlein was holding Buller up badly, and as a result Blomqvist and Harvey were now right there with them. Just for good measure, up the front, no matter what Tincknell tried, he couldn’t shake off either Felix, and he was having to work very hard indeed to hold on to his lead.
As the race wore on, Fantin finally found a way round Zeller, and that seemed to galvanise the others too. Jaafar and van Asseldonk were somewhat occupied fighting each other, but once the Dutchman managed to pass the Malaysian, he too was soon ahead of the Swiss in the bright yellow car. Jaafar was next to try it, but was now being attacked by Lewis, and a wobbly moment saw him swamped by almost everyone else. He seemed to be in some sort of trouble though he was soon relieved of the need to defend against Sainz when the Spaniard suffered a gearbox failure and had to pull off with three laps to go.
A last attempt by Wehrlein to snatch 3rd from Rosenqvist came to nothing, though the German did finally get ahead with a handful of laps to go, although Rosenqvist came back at him before the end to no real effect. The Swede finally had to settle for 4th, ahead of Buller, who had had a tough 20 minutes out there.
As the race wound down the lead pair were doing nothing of the sort. They had shaken off Wehrlein and Rosenqvist, but they hadn’t stopped racing. Serralles was all over Tincknell right down to the final corner, and would finish the race a mere 0.4 second behind the winner.
Tincknell was delighted to win under such challenging circumstances, and Serralles didn’t appear too unhappy to be second, thus collecting some useful points too. Wehrlein was 3rd overall, ahead of Buller, Blomqvist, Harvey, Fantin, Lynn and van Asseldonk. Juncadella was finally 11th from 28th on the grid, ahead of Zeller, Lewis, Jaafar, Uhrhane, Derani, Marciello, Sa Silva, Roda and Wolf. Ellis ended up 21st, followed home by National Class winner Goddard, Padayachee and McBride (one lap down at the end).
The fastest laps of the race went to Serralles, Buller and Goddard.
Weather: Hot – air temperature 35.9°C; track temperature 41.7°C.