Mugello: Volkswagen preview

Volkswagen teams well prepared after test -- home race for Mortara The second round of the Formula 3 Euro Series at Mugello, Italy, will be contested in cars "powered by Volkswagen" by both the leader of the overall standings, the Italian...

Volkswagen teams well prepared after test -- home race for Mortara

The second round of the Formula 3 Euro Series at Mugello, Italy, will be contested in cars "powered by Volkswagen" by both the leader of the overall standings, the Italian Edoardo Mortara, and last year's winner Franck Mailleux from France. The round in Tuscany staged as part of the DTM on the first weekend in May (01 -04 May) will see five other Volkswagen drivers compete: alongside Mortara and Mailleux the Red Bull Juniors Stefano Coletti (Monaco) and Jean Karl Vernay (France) will contest the round for the French Signature team, while for RC Motorsport from Italy the two Germans Maximilian Gotz (Uffenheim) and Jens Klingmann (Leimen) as well as the Brit Martin Plowman will be racing the cars with the 210-hp two-litre four-cylinder engine from Volkswagen. Yet again not among the contenders will be Cheng Congfu (RC Motorsport) from China, who contests the A1 GP race at Brands Hatch, UK, for his national team.

"With two podium places for Edoardo Mortara and the engine from the Volkswagen Group, the season opener at Hockenheim was more than satisfactory for us," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "But nobody can rest on such laurels. The Formula 3 Euro Series is ultra-competitive. Therefore, it is crucial to continually perfect the interaction between the teams, technical crews and drivers. The two Volkswagen teams, Signature and RC Motorsport, have used the tests at Nogaro, France, to systematically prepare themselves for the two races at Mugello."

Mugello demands a perfect setup and strong qualifying performance

At the Formula 3 round on the outskirts of Florence, the spotlight will be focused particularly on Edoardo Mortara. At Hockenheim, the 21-year-old shone with the first two podium positions for the Volkswagen engine. What's more, the driver, who resides in Switzerland, has Italian roots. "Although I have a French and an Italian passport, Italy is my home when it comes to racing. This is where I contested kart races when I was a boy and, later, my first car races. That's why I feel at home at Mugello as well," says Mortara, who, with ten points, has the same score as Mika Maki (Finland/Mercedes-Dallara), with whom he is currently sharing the top of the standings. His expectations of the two races staged at the circuit that is situated in a picturesque setting are realistic: "Last year, Mugello was not the best place for me. Therefore, we concentrated on a basic setup during the tests at Nogaro. A good result in qualifying is important, that's the key to success. If we manage this, a lot is possible in the races..."

Franck Mailleux returns to Mugello with fond memories: that's where he celebrated his first victory in the Formula 3 Euro Series last year. "It was a great feeling, but now that's history. Starting with the Thursday tests, we need to fully concentrate on finding the optimum setup. At Mugello, this is particularly difficult because you need little downforce for the straights, but all the more of it for the quick 'test-of-courage corners'," explains the 21-year-old from Rennes, who is currently in third place of the overall standings.

With Mortara in first and Mailleux in third place as well as Vernay and Gotz in positions seven and eight after the season opener, as many as four Volkswagen drivers are among the top eight. "That's a nice snapshot and provides additional motivation - but that's all," says Kris Nissen. Drivers hoping for a better outcome than at Hockenheim are Jens Klingmann and Martin Plowman in particular, who had to pay dearly at the season opener. "Of course I had a different idea of my debut in the Formula 3 Euro Series," says 17-year-old. "But Hockenheim is 'water down the river', and I'm looking forward to Mugello with optimism."

-credit: volkswagen-motorsport.com

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Drivers Stefano Coletti , Martin Plowman , Congfu Cheng , Mika Maki , Jens Klingmann , Kris Nissen , Franck Mailleux , Edoardo Mortara , Jean-Karl Vernay , Maximilian Götz
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport