Mercedes Zandvoort race notes

Victory and Second Place for Christian Klien The Mücke team's Dallara-Mercedes driver Christian Klien won the 15th round of the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series at Zandvoort, Netherlands on Saturday scoring the fifth win for the Mercedes-Benz engine...

Victory and Second Place for Christian Klien

The Mücke team's Dallara-Mercedes driver Christian Klien won the 15th round of the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series at Zandvoort, Netherlands on Saturday scoring the fifth win for the Mercedes-Benz engine M271 developed from the production engine powering C- and E- class models in a compressor version. In the 16th heat on Sunday, Klien came home second behind championship leader Ryan Briscoe (Dallara-Opel). The Dallara-Mercedes drivers achieved five out of the weekend's six possible podium positions. On Saturday, Bruno Spengler finished second ahead of his ASM team mate Olivier Pla and Markus Winkelhock (Mücke team). On Sunday, Pla ended up third ahead of Winkelhock and Alexandre Prémat (ASM). Klien who had started from pole position twice and won for the third win, reduced the gap in the overall ranking behind leader Briscoe from 32 to 22 points. With 77 points, Klien is second behind Briscoe with 99. Pla is third with 61 points ahead of Winkelhock (52) and Prémat (46).

Race 1: Starting from pole position, Klien accelerated into an immediate lead and maintained his position until the chequered flag. The ASM team's Dallara-Mercedes driver Alexandre Prémat started second on the grid and collided with championship leader Briscoe at the first corner. Whilst Briscoe dropped to the back of the field and eventually finished 17th, Prémat retired on the opening lap due to a broken suspension at the left front wheel. The Safety Car was deployed for four laps, and then for another five laps after Sakon Yamamoto's (Dallara-Toyota) accident on lap ten. Bruno Spengler improved from fourth to second at the start and maintained his position until the finish line though he was under pressure from ASM team mate Olivier Pla who came home third. Fellow Dallara-Mercedes driver Markus Winkelhock ended up fourth. Charles Zwolsman (Kolles) finished 16th. Jamie Green who replaces Jan Heylen in the Kolles team retired due to broken clutch pedal.

Race 2: For the sixth time in 16 races, Klien started from pole position but lost the top spot to Briscoe. Pla followed in third place ahead of Winkelhock and Prémat. After an accident of Bernhard Auinger on the opening lap, the Safety Car was deployed until the end of lap 5. On the third lap, Spengler retired from seventh place with a clutch failure. The order at the top remained unchanged, and after 17 laps Klien came home second 6.2sec behind Briscoe. Pla finished third ahead of Winkelhock and Prémat. Kolles drivers Zwolsman and Green ended up 18th and 19th respectively.

Christian Klien: "An almost perfect weekend - two poles, one win, a second place and 20 points scored. The championship is still open. It will be hard to beat Ryan, but our team and me will do our best." Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "A good performance by our teams with four cars in the first four positions on Saturday and four cars on positions two to five on Sunday. We further develop our Formula 3 concept for young talents and Christian Klien has still a chance to win the championship. However, Ryan Briscoe and his team have proved with Sunday's race, that they deserve credit."

-mbm/dcr-

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Series F3 Europe
Drivers Norbert Haug , Ryan Briscoe , Bruno Spengler , Christian Klien , Olivier Pla , Alexandre Prémat , Charles Zwolsman , Markus Winkelhock , Sakon Yamamoto , Jamie Green , Bernhard Auinger