LAURENS VANTHOOR WINS ATS FORMULA 3 CUP RACE AT OSCHERSLEBEN! Young Belgian driver takes victory in final race of the season OSCHERSLEBEN - All well that ends well. With a great victory in the final race of the season at the Oschersleben ...
LAURENS VANTHOOR WINS ATS FORMULA 3 CUP RACE AT OSCHERSLEBEN!
Young Belgian driver takes victory in final race of the season
OSCHERSLEBEN - All well that ends well. With a great victory in the final race of the season at the Oschersleben circuit (Germany) Laurens Vanthoor successfully ended the 2008 ATS Formula 3 Cup season. In the first race on Saturday the Belgian talent was dominating, but a comfortable lead was brought to naught after colliding with another competitor in the final lap. His pure speed, which he managed to convert into a pole position and two fastest race laps, delivered him three extra points. In the final standings of the championship the Belgian driver finished in fourth place with 85 points, after scoring two victories, nine podium finishes, three pole positions and two fastest race laps. In the Rookie Cup the Volkswagen works driver finished in second place with 112 points.
FREE PRACTICE + QUALIFYING:
On Friday morning the starting signal was given for the first free practice session on the Oschersleben circuit. On the technically challenging circuit Vanthoor got to grips with the track quickly. On new tyres Vanthoor only just missed out on the fastest lap time of the session. In the second session Vanthoor started with a set of tyres that were almost unused. When the performance of the tyres degraded as the session progressed, Vanthoor had a new set of tyres mounted on his car. The 17-year old was able to clock the fastest lap time of the session. He went into the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon with a lot of confidence. The Van Amersfoort Racing driver went out at the half way point of the thirty minute session and set the fastest lap time in only his first flying lap. Not much later he hit the curbstones and briefly went off the track. He continued the qualifying session with a vibrating steering wheel. In the mean time Vanthoor had dropped back to third place. After a yellow flag period came to an end he went out for another fast run. After one flying lap around the 3,667 meter long circuit he eventually lapped the track two tenths of a second quicker than Sebastian Saavedra and clinched his third pole position of the season. In the second qualifying session Vanthoor impressed again, by setting the fastest lap time almost immediately. After this he got stuck in traffic and slowly got out of his rhythm. New brake discs caused his car to lock up under braking. With a lap time of 1:21.595 Vanthoor had to be content with a second place on the grid.
RACE 01 + 02:
After a great practice start in the warm-up lap Vanthoor did not have a good start on Saturday afternoon. Despite his start he was able to maintain his position and he was able to extend his lead in the first laps. When Vanthoor had taken a five second lead over the number 2 (Saavedra) and the tyres on his car were getting worse, he decided to push less. Vanthoor set the fastest lap of the race in his third lap and was heading for what looked like a certain victory. Unfortunately the end of the race was not what Vanthoor had in mind. As he closed in on two backmarkers it was Adderly Fong who went off at the Triple, causing a big cloud of dust. The Chinese driver came to a halt in the middle of the track. Italian driver Glorioso only just managed to avoid Fong; Vanthoor only spotted the stranded car at the very last moment as a result. Despite braking hard the gravel thrown onto the track meant Vanthoor smashed into the side of Fong's car. A certain victory disappeared like snow before the sun.
In the final race on Sunday Vanthoor had a great start on used tyres. He immediately passed Cecotto and was leading the pack as it got through the first corners. Vanthoor found the right pace and quickly created a gap to his nearest rivals. In the third lap he set the fastest lap of the race. When a backmarker spun right in front of Vanthoor he was able to avoid him, but it also meant that Cecotto was able to close some of the gap. Vanthoor was able to close the door on Cecotto, the HS Technik Motorsport driver getting two tyres on the grass at one point. Vanthoor held on to his lead in the final stages and clinched the victory after eighteen laps.
LAURENS VANTHOR: "This weekend we have shown that the combination Laurens Vanthoor, Van Amersfoort Racing and Volkswagen was by far the quickest. In the races yesterday and today I was really dominating and I should have won twice here at Oschersleben. Yesterday I came across a stranded opponent at the very last moment and I could not avoid him. I was really sick of it! Today I managed to pass Cecotto almost immediately and, despite the tyres getting worse, I held the lead. When I look back at the season I can really be satisfied. I made a huge step from karting to Formula 3 and had to learn a lot in the first part of the season. In the second part I was able to fight for victories and I've really shown how I am. I will be eating some French fries tonight to celebrate my victory!"