Robert Wickens clinches Volkswagen's third victory of the season Wolfsburg. In difficult weather conditions Robert Wickens clinched the third victory of the season for Volkswagen at Sunday's race of the Formula 3 Euro Series' rounds 17 and 18...
Robert Wickens clinches Volkswagen's third victory of the season
Wolfsburg. In difficult weather conditions Robert Wickens clinched the third victory of the season for Volkswagen at Sunday's race of the Formula 3 Euro Series' rounds 17 and 18 at Le Mans, France. The Canadian from Team Signature, who finished Saturday's race in seventh place, started from second place on the grid a day later. As rain was consistently getting heavier on the short Le Mans version, the "Bugatti Circuit", Wickens in the Volkswagen Dallara F308 took the lead as early as on the first lap and did not relinquish it again up to the finish. For Wickens, this marks the first Formula 3 victory of his career. The race was stopped in between due to rain and, after a re-start behind the safety car, run for three more laps. In addition, the third-placed Jean Karl Vernay (Team Signature) finished on the podium. In front of his home audience the Frenchman as the fifth-placed contender in Saturday's race was the best driver "powered by Volkswagen". Due to the race being shortened from the original 27 to eleven laps only half the points were awarded in accordance with regulations.
For the other Volkswagen drivers, the rounds were fair to middling. After the runner-up in the standings, Edoardo Mortara (I), at the first race missed eighth place - and thus the pole position for race two - by merely one place, Pau winner Mortara (Signature) finished the second race in 14th place. Before the two final rounds at Hockenheim Mortara, with an advantage of seven points, is still the runner-up in the standings. Nelson Panciatici (F) finished his maiden race in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 15th place, 24 hours later he came 18th. His French compatriot Franck Mailleux (F), the winner of Brands Hatch, improved from 23rd at the first race to 21st. The biggest leap, however, was made by Jens Klingmann, who on Saturday passed the chequered flag only on position 27, and made up twelve places at the second race.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
"Of course I'd like to first congratulate Nico Hulkenberg on his well-deserved win of the drivers' title. We put up a good fight against him up to this weekend at Le Mans. Robert Wickens clinched the third victory of the season for Volkswagen here in difficult weather conditions. That makes it all the better that Jean Karl Vernay in third place finished on the podium as well. We proved yet again that even on circuits that are new to us we can be among the front runners straight away. We now have three victories, 13 podium positions as well as 31 further point results to our credit - a tally with which we're more than satisfied in the first full season since our return to Formula 3 as an engine supplier. Now, at the season finale at Hockenheim, we'll try and put some nice finishing touches on this successful season."
#35 - Robert Wickens (CDN) - Volkswagen Dallara F308 - Team Signature Qualifying: place 12 - race 1: place 7 - race 2: place 1
"I love this circuit. At Le Mans, I regularly manage to achieve good results. In the first race I found a good rhythm which enabled me to re-conquer many positions and to finish in seventh place. Despite the difficult weather conditions I was very confident for the second race. As early as on the first lap I was able to take the lead. After that I was highly concentrated because it was easy to make major mistakes. I was already worried that I might have to pit for a tyre change. But then, fortunately, the red flag was shown, so race control spared me from having to take this difficult decision. Now I'm happy about being the first Canadian to win a race in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Therefore, I want to thank my Signature team and Volkswagen, who made it possible for me to enter this ultra-competitive Formula 3 Championship."
#30 - Jean Karl Vernay (F) - Volkswagen Dallara F308 - Team Signature Qualifying: place 10 - race 1: place 5 - race 2: place 3
"We significantly improved the car over the weekend. Although I was obstructed in traffic, I was able to qualify for the fifth row on the grid. In Saturday's race I made a good improvement, all the way to fifth place. At the start to the second race I was able to take the lead briefly in the first turn but then I made a small mistake in the second one, which caused me to lose some ground. I came to Le Mans with the goal of scoring points. Third place now makes me pretty happy and, what's more, optimistic for the finale at Hockenheim, because I still want to move up a few places in the drivers' standings."
#7 - Edoardo Mortara (I) - Volkswagen Dallara F308 - Team Signature Qualifying: place 19 - race 1: place 9 - race 2: place 14
"This weekend, things were not exactly going in my favour. In qualifying, the set-up of my car didn't fit my driving style 100 per cent. In addition, I hit heavy traffic. Then, when I wanted to drive my fast laps, I was slowed by yellow flags. The marshals here are very cautious and I strictly obeyed their signals. I was then satisfied with the first race where I was able to recover ten positions. In the second race I spun, which caused me to lose ground again. I'm very sad about having scored only a single point here. This has not exactly improved my prospects in the drivers' standings a lot."