First highlight in the Eifel region The 2009 ATS Formula 3 Cup season has only just begun on the Easter weekend but is approaching its first highlight, held at the Nurburgring from 21st to 23rd May: the third and fourth rounds, held in the...
First highlight in the Eifel region
The 2009 ATS Formula 3 Cup season has only just begun on the Easter weekend but is approaching its first highlight, held at the Nurburgring from 21st to 23rd May: the third and fourth rounds, held in the support programme of the legendary Nurburgring 24-Hour Race.
While the touring cars and sports cars contesting the endurance classic will use the entire circuit comprising the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit, the Formula 3 young guns will race on the modern GP track alone. "I would have loved to race on the Nordschleife," says Laurens Vanthoor, "But apparently this circuit just doesn't suit our super fast single-seaters. Therefore, Formula races just have to be held on the Grand Prix circuit." The 17-year old loves challenges and regards Macao's extremely demanding street circuit as one of his favourite racetracks. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that he also loves the Nordschleife.
Vanthoor doesn't travel to the Nurburgring as championship leader but is regarded as No 1 favourite, nevertheless. On the season kick-off weekend, he spoiled his chances of taking the championship lead by making a jump start on Sunday. After all, he had won the Saturday round, set the fastest race lap and secured both pole positions before making this mistake. "It was my fault," he admits. "But I know what went wrong and promise to do better at the Nurburgring." At the same time, his rivals - one of them his team-mate Stef Dusseldorp, also are keen on making it to the highest step on the podium. "It goes without saying that we don't want to make a stupid mistake that might cost us both dearly," says the rookie and current championship leader, "But you can believe me that I won't hand him the race wins on a silver platter."
Furthermore, the level of competitiveness on this year's ATS Formula 3 Cup grid is extremely high, anyway. In the free practice session at Oschersleben, 13 drivers clocked lap times within the same second. Ten drivers have scored points, both established drivers and rookies. And there is a girl you should keep an eye on: Rahel Frey. The Swiss secured a podium finish at Oschersleben and feels really comfortable in the team of her compatriot. "At Jo Zeller racing everybody focuses on me," she says. "His advice is important for me and last year, his car has won two Nurburgring rounds."
Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that she automatically will repeat this feat, in 2009. There are lot of drivers who want to bar her from doing so, even some of the newcomers - such as Zettl Sportsline, the new ATS Formula 3 Cup team that contests the season with the two Formula 3 Markus Pommer and Nico Monien. In the rookie ranking Pommer holds the lead, followed by Russia's Vladimir Semenov. While Ukrainian Sergy Chukanov is the current ATS Formula 3 Trophy leader.
The 24-Hour Race crowds may look forward to witness a variegated Formula 3 field featuring 21 drivers from 13 countries. Those who want to get very close to the drivers should attend the Adenauer Racing Day held on Ascension Day. From 15:00 to 16:00hrs, the entire Cup field will be there for an autographing session. And the demonstration runs of two Formula 3 cars in the small town certainly also will attract major attention.