Spengler 6th after leading race Hockenheim, Germany, October 4th, 2003 -- Canadian race car driver and member of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team Bruno Spengler came extremely close from winning his first Formula 3 race today in Hockenheim, ...
Spengler 6th after leading race
Hockenheim, Germany, October 4th, 2003 -- Canadian race car driver and member of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team Bruno Spengler came extremely close from winning his first Formula 3 race today in Hockenheim, Germany. Spengler, who started 7th on the grid, led the entire race until he was forced to brake hard to avoid a damaged race car that was left on the track. In the process, Spengler's pursuers easily caught him, and passed him.
Qualifying for Race 1 was held this morning in the rain. It was Bruno Spengler's first experience in the rain behind the wheel of a Formula 3 car. He was fifth quickest at the midway point of the session and finally ended up 7th quickest. "This track is very slippery in the rain," said the 19-year old Canadian. "There's very little grip. I was going quicker and quicker but rain fell harder at the end of the half hour qualifying session."
Spengler took a fantastic start from seventh place on the grid. With his car shod on rain tires, he easily powered ahead of many cars fitted with slicks. In corner three, Spengler outbraked Marcus Winkelhock to take the lead of the race. Four laps later, the Canadian set the fastest lap of the race and enjoyed a 10.4-second lead. One lap later, the Safety Car took the track. At the green on lap 9, Spengler powered away from the rest of the field but the sun was out and the racing line was now dry. At the end of the penultimate lap, one car crashed and it was left on the track. Spengler arrived first on the scene and he braked hard to avoid hitting the car. The four drivers who were behind him benefitted from the manoeuvre to catch him up. Protecting his lead during the last lap, Spengler nevertheless lost positions and crossed the line in 6th place.
"Before the start, I knew the track would quickly dry up and I had to drive as hard as possible to disappear into the lead," said the Mercedes-Benz driver. "In the wet, the car was working great. When I saw the Safety Car take the track, I knew I had work very hard for nothing. Then, my car started to slide quite a bit. At the end, I exited the last corner and saw the damaged car and a tractor on the track. I braked hard and I was convinced that the Safety Car would again take the track again because there were debris everywhere. It was not the case! I saw a green flag and I stepped on the gas. The guys behind me never touched the brakes and there were just behind me. So, I finished 6th but I easily led the race. We took the right decision in starting on wet tires. Now, I have to win tomorrow's race!"
Race 2 will be held tomorrow morning, German time. Bruno Spengler will take the start in seventh position.
Bruno Spengler is proudly sponsored by Mercedes Benz, Goodvibes, march-fifteen, Reneka, Arai, ASN Canada FIA, Smart race paint and Inside Track Motorsport News.