BRILLIANT VICTORY FOR LAURENS VANTHOOR AT THE SACHSENRING! SACHSENRING, 21 SEPTEMBER 2008 - In his sixteenth race in the ATS Formula 3 Cup Laurens Vanthoor took his first victory today at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany. A great pass on...
BRILLIANT VICTORY FOR LAURENS VANTHOOR AT THE SACHSENRING!
SACHSENRING, 21 SEPTEMBER 2008 - In his sixteenth race in the ATS Formula 3 Cup Laurens Vanthoor took his first victory today at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany. A great pass on fellow Belgian Vervisch in the final race of the weekend, meant Vanthoor was able to take the win. In yesterday's race the Belgian talent also scored a podium finish after crossing the line in second place. With the nineteen points he gets for these results the 17-year old driver is now in fifth place in the championship standings (total of 72 points) with just one race weekend to go. In the Rookie Cup Vanthoor is in second place with 102 points.
FREE PRACTICE + QUALIFYING:
The Sachsenring circuit was unknown territory for Vanthoor, so the Belgian driver used the two one hour and fifteen minutes long free practice sessions to get to know the track. He got to grips with the 3,645 meters long circuit in no time and was able to improve his lap times all the time. In his second run he set the second fastest lap time. Vanthoor also used the sessions to test some settings of his car. He eventually ended the session in third place. In the second session the pace was there right from the start. Vanthoor was able to get into second place on a set of old tyres before coming into the pit lane for a new set of tyres. Unfortunately he was only able to do three laps on the new tyres. Once more he finished the session in third place.
Vanthoor went into the qualifying session in a positive mood. Five minutes into the session the rookie went out onto the track on new tyres. He was able to keep up the good work and after a perfect lap he secured his second pole position of the season! The second qualifying session which took place only ten minutes later was somewhat chaotic. Just before the session started it started to drizzle and most drivers went out immediately. When Vanthoor tried to set a fast lap time he was interrupted as the yellow flags came out. Towards the end of the session he was stuck in traffic, which meant he had to be content with a second place on the grid.
RACE 01 + 02:
In the opening race on Saturday afternoon the driver from Zolder had a clean start. He managed to keep Frédéric Vervisch behind in the first corner and was still leading after completing the first lap. Vanthoor was able to parry Vervisch's attacks but as the race went on the handling of Vanthoor's car became worse and Vervisch was able to close in again. When Vanthoor tried to close the door on Vervisch again he ended up on the dirty side of the track which allowed Vervisch to pass him in the first turn. When Giulio Glorioso rolled his car after a coming together with Karline Stala the safety car was deployed. The race eventually finished behind the safety car after eighteen laps, which meant Vanthoor was classified in second place. After the race it turned out that Vanthoor had suffered a right rear puncture, which cost him a lot of time in the race.
Because of the rain on Sunday the race director decided to start the race behind the safety car as a precautionary measure. The safety car went in after two laps on a drying track and Vanthoor was able to keep up with pole sitter Vervisch. The Van Amersfoort Racing driver immediately put the pressure on the new ATS Formula 3 Cup champion and was able to pass Vervisch in the sixth lap of the race. After passing Vervisch he was able to increase the gap to his opponents lap after lap. Despite a near-off Vanthoor was able to keep up his pace. When Cecotto spun in the final phase of the race it was clear that Vanthoor would maintain his leading position. After sixteen laps Vanthoor took his first win in the ATS Formula 3 Cup!
LAURENS VANTHOOR: "It is really fantastic to get my first win of the season here. I could only dream of this so far. I passed Frédéric after an exciting battle and I only pushed for a couple of laps and managed to create a gap to the rest of the field. Despite nearly going off the track I really concentrated on the remaining laps and scored my first victory. This is the best single-seater race in my career! Yesterday I was really disappointed after the first race. I should have taken my first victory then, but a slowly deflating rear tyre made it impossible to defend my lead. The season is succesful for me. In the first half of the season I had to learn a lot and in the second half I scored a lot of podium finishes. This victory is the best reward for the team and engine supplier Volkswagen. I really want to thank all the members of Frits van Amersfoort's team, Volkswagen, my family and friends for their support. Tonight the team and I will uncork an extra bottle of Champagne to celebrate our victories!"