A podium finish for Guillaume Moreau -- First round at the Ring ! A 27-driver field offered breathtaking races to an estimated audience of 100.000 people at the F3 Euro Series season opener in Hockenheim Ring. After qualifying a disappointing...
A podium finish for Guillaume Moreau -- First round at the Ring !
A 27-driver field offered breathtaking races to an estimated audience of 100.000 people at the F3 Euro Series season opener in Hockenheim Ring.
After qualifying a disappointing 11th, Guillaume Moreau fought his way back through a determined and cosmopolitan pack to finally achieve his first podium finish of the season.
No "Friday night fever" for Guillaume, who was taking stock of this qualifying, as staying out of midfielders would have been a more comfortable situation. "We found a good set-up in practice, and I was in the top 5 on used tyres early in the qualifying session. But strangely, I didn't improve on new tyres. I suppose I just couldn't find the right pace." The Signature driver pleads guilty, but the circumstances of winter testing didn't give him enough opportunities to practice with the complete qualifying package. Never mind: on Saturday Morning, Guillaume is ready to strike back!
In this year's F3 Euro Series events, there is only one qualifying session, then a "long" Saturday's 40-minute race. Its results determine the grid for Sunday's race, but there is a reversed-grid system for the top 8 finishers, just like in the GP2 Series. At the start of Race 1, Moreau was a rapid starter from eleventh to eighth, but a safety-car period began because of a crash on the starting line. Combat resumed 5 laps later. "It's been a fantastic fight, one of the most exciting I had ever seen, with sometimes 4 cars braking side by side, wheel-to-side-pod on or off track action. I managed to climb up to sixth, taking advantage of the confusion, then fifth when Van der Garde went off. My aim was then to chase Vettel." On his home ground, the 2005 Rookie Champion is in a mood for resisting, as you can imagine. "We ran wheel-to-wheel from the hairpin to the Mercedes Grandstand, but then I was on the apex line, so I got past." 4 laps later, the driver from Limoges was fourth on the line.
According to the reversed-grid system, Guillaume was fifth, on the inside of row 3, for the start of Race 2. Once again, great racing was soon to follow. The number 9 Mercedes-powered Dallara driver struggled at the first corner. "The guys in front braked heavily so I blocked wheels and nearly went off. I drove over the outside kerb." This allowed Di Resta to shoot past the Frenchman. But Antinucci quickly retired, and Buurman dropped back, leaving Guillaume in fourth position.
"There were three ASM drivers ahead. I was fast, but not enough in the sectors where it is easy to overtake. So I waited for my time to come. Di Resta went off at the Stadium, and I put pressure on Kobayashi." Guillaume was as concerned with catching Kobayashi as worried about looking in his mirrors for the Manor menace: Guerrieri was hot in the Signature car's gearbox, with Hirate and Nakajima just behind. "Kobayashi made a mistake, so I could pass, and I immediately rejoined Vettel. It is a shame it came at the penultimate lap. With a few more minutes left, perhaps I could have tried something."
Guillaume took the car back home in second place, only half a second behind the winner. The top 4 finishers crossed the line in just 7 tens of a second! The figure is meaningful. "I am happy because I succeeded in recovering from my poor qualifying. With Vettel we are joined second in the standings, with a Japanese at the top, and another one right behind. Battles at Lauzitsring should be hot too." The next event will take place at the Eurospeedway on April 29th and 30th.