Headlines galore Four races, three different race winners. A favourite in the lead, a girl following right behind. A rookie in third position, a German on the podium. Eleven drivers have scored points, with the top six positions being held ...
Four races, three different race winners. A favourite in the lead, a girl following right behind. A rookie in third position, a German on the podium. Eleven drivers have scored points, with the top six positions being held by drivers from six different nations. In its still young 2009 season, the ATS Formula 3 Cup has produced spectacular headlines galore. This weekend, the season will be continued at Hockenheim.
The young guns of Germany's fastest single-seater series will hold the fifth and sixth rounds of their season, within the scope of this weekend's edition of the newly created 'ADAC Masters Weekend'. And the situation couldn't be much more thrilling. Following the first two events at Oschersleben and the Nurburgring, Laurens Vanthoor's lead adds up to just a single point - a clear proof of the extreme competitiveness at the front end of the field. "This close situation won't make me lose my cool," claims the 17-year old Belgian. "After all, I have won two races and secured three pole positions. So, there certainly is more to come." And Vanthoor's confidence doesn't come by chance: everybody in the team is working in a calm and well-organised style - an atmosphere is based on the squad's competence. In addition, Formula 3 rookie Stef Dusseldorp also underlines the competitiveness of Team Van Amersfoort Racing: the Dutchman secured a race win, set two fastest race laps and currently holds third position in the championship.
Nonetheless, the van Amersfoort pairing is split by a young girl: Rahel Frey. Just a few days ago, the petite Swiss with the outstanding fighting spirit realised something no other woman had achieved in the history of the sport: a Formula 3 win in Germany. "Prior to my maiden pole and the race at the very front of the field I was somewhat nervous," Frey admits. "But now I know how to do it and that it feels just great. And I want more of it," the 23-year old announces.
Positions four to six are held by consistent drivers who scored points in every single round of the season to date - with Austrian Bernd Herndlhofer who secured two podium finishes being the best of them. Meanwhile, Rafael Suzuki also uses to be among the front-runners. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that the Brazilian is expected to celebrate his maiden race win in the near future. And the two Formula 3 newcomers racing for Team Zettl Sportsline have delivered in impressive style, too. While Markus Pommer has got a point more on his tally than Nico Monien, the latter finished third at the Nurburgring, thus having secured his first podium finish. "Formula 3 is something completely different," says Monien who contested - just as his team-mate - the Formula ADAC Masters, last year. "It's far more professional and clearly tougher."
This fact also is confirmed by a glance at the Trophy ranking. Here, Sergey Chukanov is the dominating driver. The Ukrainian has won all the four races, thus demonstrating the potential of the Arttech F24 chassis that battles it out with the Dallara armada for the first time. Nonetheless, the 21-year old mustn't rest on his laurels as two 19-year old drivers follow close behind: Italo-German Francesco Lopez and Finland's Mika Vahamaki. Both shared the second and the third places: at Oschersleben, Lopez had the upper hand and at the Nurburgring, it was Vahamaki's turn.
Most definitely, there will be some new ATS Formula 3 Cup headlines produced, during the course of the race weekend from 5th to 7th June. The man who holds the ATS Formula 3 Cup lap record at the Hockenheimring, however, won't be able to add to these headlines: Johnny Cecotto established the lap record last year by crossing the line in 1:35.706 minutes but has moved up to the Formula 3 Euro Series, this year. And the 22 drivers on this year's ATS Formula 3 Cup grid have got similar goals.