Ricardo Mauricio Spanish F3 Champion!
Racing Engineering team champions for third consecutive year!
It was the last race weekend of the 2003 Spanish F3 Championship in Barcelona, where the winner of the title was to be decided in front of more than fifty five thousand spectators. Racing Engineering's Ricardo Mauricio went into the weekend as the leader and therefore his strategy was rather to keep the rhythm of the followers instead of taking unnecessary risks.
After winning race one, it was possible for Ricardo to finish race two in a comfortable fifth place and win the title of the 2003 Spanish Formula 3 Champion.
Racing Engineering won the Team Championship for the third consecutive year thanks to the great teamwork of all the technical staff together with the drivers Pedro Barral, Lourenco da Veiga, Jan Heylen and Ricardo Mauricio.
The starting grid of race one promised a more than exciting race. Martin, so far third in the championship, started from pole position. Ricardo Mauricio, Racing Engineering's championship leader, went into the race from second and Garcia, second in the overall standings, from third position. Right from the start Ricardo put Martin under a lot of pressure and the Spaniard had tremendous problems under the wet conditions. Ricardo took over the lead in lap three and quickly had a comfortable few seconds gap between him and the followers. For the rest of the race Ricardo was not pushing too much and celebrated his sixth victory in the 2003 Spanish F3 season. His competitors for the title, Martin and Garcia, finished fourth and sixth.
Racing Engineering's Pedro Barral started from eighth position and finished the race twelfth.
Jan Heylen, the young Belgian, participated in the Spanish Formula 3 for the first time and went into race one from tenth position. Jan showed a very convincing performance and finished this race seventh.
Lourenco da Veiga, who after the race admitted that he doesn't have a lot of experience with this car under wet conditions, found his rhythm quickly and finished eighth.
After increasing the gap to Martin and Garcia in the fight for the championship with the results of the first race, Ricardo knew that all he needed to win the title was a secure race scoring just some points. Starting on slicks from position three, Ricardo was overtaken by Garcia at the start. Ricardo was fourth when in lap four Soucek attempted to overtake him in an impossible maneuver and touched the Brazilian's car. This incident caused some damage on Ricardo's left rear suspension, which affected the rear tire. Ricardo reduced his speed and monitored the decreasing condition of the tire in the mirror. Ricardo lost one more position and finished the race fifth -- and as the Spanish Formula 3 Champion.
His teammate Jan Heylen went into the race second and due to too much wheel spin at the start lost one place and stayed third throughout the race. In his first outing in the Spanish Formula 3 Jan already went on the podium as third.
Lourenco da Veiga, tenth on the grid, faced a problem with the fuel pump on his car right after the start and lost some time due to this. Once this was solved, Lourenco pushed a lot and being content with his car and set up, finished the race eighth.
Pedro Barral starting ninth had an excellent start that brought him into sixth position. Gaining another position in the following lap, Pedro was right behind his teammate Ricardo in fifth place. Pedro lost this position to Barba in lap eight. Two laps before the end of the race Pedro spun and fell back into twelfth place.
After the second race Ricardo Mauricio said, "I did it! We did it! It is nice, very nice and I am very happy. I won a championship before in Brazil and I was second in Macao, but this is the first time I am a champion in Europe -- with six wins! I am very happy and I am very happy with this team. Concerning the races I would like to say that the first race was very difficult for me during the first two laps, but after the lap times came easily and I had a nice time gap between me and the others so I didn't push too much anymore. The second race was difficult for be, but I was careful. I took it easy and had an eye on the championship and therefore just wanted to keep my position."
Jan Heylen, after his first races in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship announced, "In the second race I had a bad start with too much wheel spin. The first laps were very good until around lap ten I felt under steer in the front. It is my first time in this car and with these tires and therefore I do not really know the performance of these tires and how I can push. Generally it was a good weekend for me."
Alfonso de Orleans, team president, stated, "This is really fantastic! Everyone in the team did an absolutely perfect job throughout the season and that's why we have been able to win both championships. I would like to thank everyone at Racing Engineering as every single person is an important factor to this success. And I would like to thank the drivers, who gave their best all year long. Ricardo is really a fantastic driver and we are all going to celebrate tonight. Well done, boys! You deserve it!"