Place: Oschersleben Dates: 10th - 12th October 2008 Track length: 3.6km Race 1 Grid Position: 5 Result: 3 Race 2 Grid Position: 7 Result: 4 Since the Formula 3 Cup curtain-raiser at Hockenheim, Philipp hasn't been seen in an F3 racer, but in...
Dates: 10th - 12th October 2008
Track length: 3.6km
Grid Position: 5
Grid Position: 7
Since the Formula 3 Cup curtain-raiser at Hockenheim, Philipp hasn't been seen in an F3 racer, but in his comeback for the final event of the season at Oschersleben, he showed his true potential. Even before going out on track, he stated confidently: "I think the car they have given me at my new team of Ombra Racing is fast enough to win or, at the very least, secure a podium finish." These words were to prove prophetic.
How did the race weekend turn out?
The answer is simple: exactly to plan, at least as far as Philipp was concerned. In his tailored comeback, he experienced no familiarisation problems. After all, he had just driven in the Formula BMW Europe to keep his hand in. "The switch caused me no real difficulties," he says. "It wasn't as hard as the adjustment from a Formula 3 to a Formula BMW car."
Right from the first free practice session, Philipp was up with the leaders, though qualifying itself wasn't quite optimal. Nonetheless, he was able to show his speed in the first race. "I had a good start from fifth on the grid and immediately advanced to third," he explains. After that, he maintained speed and claimed a first podium spot for his new team. In the second race, he also got off to a great start and made up three positions to finish fourth.
What was the key to his success?
"The secret both times was in the start," reveals Philipp. "I got away from the grid really well on both occasions, was able to use my race pace and didn't have to look back." The starts were indeed the most positive aspect of his weekend. At Hockenheim, they hadn't exactly gone to plan. "But this time, my starts were better than those of anyone else in the first few rows. That's a very encouraging sign."
Philipp didn't have great deal of time for any practice. "I tried out six or seven starts in free practice but I arrived at Oschersleben without having done a single test drive." There was one simple explanation: "The team explained to me how to do a perfect start. That's the reason they both went so well."
How does he feel he's settling in at his new team?
Without any test experience, the whole race weekend served as an opportunity to get to know each other. "It always takes the race engineer a while to catch on to what a new driver needs, but that process went very quickly in our case." Philipp is also delighted with the atmosphere within the team. "I feel really at home here." And by way of thanks, Philipp presented them with a podium finish. "It's a few races now since they've had a whiff of a podium so everyone was very happy." Who knows what the outcome might have been if Philipp had been able to put in few days' testing beforehand?