In some ways the 14th running of the Marlboro Masters of Formula Three was more predictable than was necessary. Basically, as it turned out, no one was capable of taking the fight to the ASM Formule 3 team, and their all- conquering ...
In some ways the 14th running of the Marlboro Masters of Formula Three was more predictable than was necessary. Basically, as it turned out, no one was capable of taking the fight to the ASM Formule 3 team, and their all- conquering Mercedes engines. At least, that was how it looked on paper. In reality it wasn't quite that simple. But then, these things never are. After a visit from Dutch royalty, and in temperatures that had soared into the 30s as the afternoon came around, it wasn't going to be easy for any of the 37 competitors who had qualified to start the race. The start was earlier than in previous years because the TV Company that was broadcasting the race live was also carrying the DTM race from Oschersleben. The result was a 1pm start because we needed to be out of the way before that.
After a relatively incident-free weekend to this point it was perhaps inevitable that there would be trouble in the race. Usually it happens at Tarzan, the huge right-hander that the gaggle of drivers has to negotiate almost immediately after they set off from the grid. In fact they all got through Tarzan, Eric Salignon getting the drop on pole man Alexandre Premat as both ASM cars screamed away from the pack. Behind them James Rossiter (Fortec Motorsport) was just ahead of Adam Carroll (P1 Motorsport), while Lucas di Grassi (Hitech Racing) was holding off Nico Rosberg (Team Rosberg) for 5th. Further back, however, there was trouble, with Fairuz Fauzy (P1 Motorsport), the Malaysian covering himself in sand rather than glory at Hugenholtz, and finishing his race there and then. Additionally, we lost Ferdinand Kool (Alan Docking Racing), who was hit by Marcus Marshall (Fortec Motorsport), presumably because the Australian was trying not to get collected in Fauzy's off.
Fauzy was able to walk away, while Marshall drove on. Kool wasn't so lucky and a rescue crew had to be mobilized to extract him from the car, under cover of large ominous looking sheets. The rescue took a while, and the Safety Car was immediately scrambled to lead the pack round while the marshals and doctors saw to the injured driver. Unfortunately, it might have been scrambled immediately, but it seemed to be having some difficulties picking up the leader. Eventually it settled in just in front of Salignon, and everyone was forcibly slowed down.
For three laps, they trailed round trying to keep the heat in their tyres, and not let the engines get too much heat. Salignon led, from Pr