Mercedes Hockenheim race notes

The Mucke team's Dallara Mercedes driver Markus Winkelhock finished second in the 18th round of the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series at Hockenheim, his team mate Christian Klien came home third. Winner Ryan Briscoe (Dallara-Opel) secured the first Euro...

The Mucke team's Dallara Mercedes driver Markus Winkelhock finished second in the 18th round of the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series at Hockenheim, his team mate Christian Klien came home third. Winner Ryan Briscoe (Dallara-Opel) secured the first Euro Series Championship title with two races to go. Formula 3 rookie Klien is second overall and has the chance to end the season as runner-up in three weeks at Magny-Cours. In Saturday's race, team ASM's Dallara Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler finished sixth and was the best driver with the Mercedes-Benz engine M271 developed from the C- and E-Class production engine.

Race 1: With rain tyres, Spengler improved from seventh to first at the start. He led by more than 8sec when the Safety Car was deployed following an accident of Richard Lietz. After the re-start he suffered from fading rain tyres on the drying track, defended the lead until the final lap, but was passed by Alexandros Margaritis (Dallara-Opel) first, then by eventual winner Timo Glock (Dallara-Opel). Spengler dropped to sixth at the finish line. His ASM team mates Alexandre Premat and Olivier Pla came home ninth and tenth respectively. Markus Winkelhock (Mucke team) started from pole positon with slicks and dropped to sixth. He retired on lap 10 following a spin at the north corner. His team mate Christian Klien started sixth with slicks. After the re-start, he consistently improved his lap times, but spun on lap 11 and retired after a collision with Katsuyuki Hiranaka (Dallara-Opel) two laps later.

Race 2: Markus Winkelhock started second on the grid and was second in the first corner behind pole sitter Briscoe. Winkelhock maintained his position until the chequered flag, although he was under pressure from Klien in the closing stages. The Austrian improved from sixth to fifth at the start and overtook fellow Dallara Mercedes driver Alexandre Premat on lap two. On lap four, he passed Nico Rosberg (Dallara-Opel) at the hairpin to take third place. He reduced the gap behind Winkelhock to less than one second but was not able to pass. Spengler finished fifth ahead of his ASM team mate Olivier Pla. Premat, the third ASM driver, retired on lap eight after being hit by Robert Doornbos's Dallara-Mugen-Honda.

Markus Winkelhock: "After a good start, I was as fast as Briscoe in the beginning. However, I got a problem with the brake balance and was not able to put him under pressure any more."

Christian Klien: "A good start and a good race, I improved from sixth to third. Unfortunately there was no way to pass Markus. Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe on winning the championship, but I'm satisfied with second place in my first Formula 3 year which I hope to secure in three weeks."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe on a deserved title win. He was the superior driver this season. Our teams showed consistently good performances and our drivers follow in the overall ranking in positions two, three, four, six and nine."

-mercedes-

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Series F3 Europe
Drivers Norbert Haug , Robert Doornbos , Ryan Briscoe , Nico Rosberg , Bruno Spengler , Christian Klien , Olivier Pla , Alexandre Prémat , Alexandros Margaritis , Timo Glock , Katsuyuki Hiranaka , Markus Winkelhock , Richard Lietz