Four races - three winners With two race weekends contested it still is difficult to identify a favourite for the 2008 ATS Formula 3 Cup season. After all, the current leader, Italy's Matteo Chinoso, lies just ten points ahead of sixth placed ...
Four races - three winners
With two race weekends contested it still is difficult to identify a favourite for the 2008 ATS Formula 3 Cup season. After all, the current leader, Italy's Matteo Chinoso, lies just ten points ahead of sixth placed Brazilian Rafael Suzuki. Hence, every race and every single point scored may turn out to be crucial, in the future. Particularly Gerhard Tweraser, Sebastian Saavedra and Frederic Vervisch will give their very best to give the Italian championship leader a hard time. Still, they also should keep an eye on Johnny Cecotto. The Venezuelan entered the Formula 3 Cup only on the Whitsun weekend but secured the win in the second round of the weekend and leaped up to seventh championship position right away.
The two races held in the Magdeburger Borde region again proved to be thrilling and exciting, with none of the drivers succeeding in securing back-to-back wins. Following an amazing start into the Saturday round, Austrian Gerhard Tweraser prevailed in superior style. Laurens Vanthoor finished runner-up on the Volkswagen home circuit, thus securing his best result in the season to date, and Sebastian Saavedra came third. The winner of the Sunday round, however, had to work clearly harder to prevail. Only in the penultimate lap, Johnny Cecotto passed Frederic Vervisch for the lead to cross the finish line as race winner. While Matteo Chinosi finished third. Still, the Italian came close to losing his championship lead, at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. In the first race of the weekend, he received a stop-and-go penalty for a false start but didn't come in and consequently was shown the black flag. Therefore, Tweraser temporarily could take the championship lead. In the second round, however, both the Austrian and Saavedra failed to score, thus offering Chinosi the chance of regaining the top position in the championship.
The first two laps of the fourth ATS Formula 3 Cup round proved to be disastrous for many favourites. Saavedra made a poor start and Laurens Vanthoor took the lead, followed by Gerhard Tweraser. With a win, Vanthoor could have compensated for his poor start into the season but in turn one of lap two, his hopes for a great race result came to a sudden end. Vanthoor and Tweraser made contact and jointly spun off the track. While the Dutchman could rejoin the race to chase the field, his opponent was forced into early retirement. Vanthoor, however, displayed fantastic fighting spirit and passed car by car to finish eighth and score a point, in the end.
The only similarity between the Hockenheim and Oschersleben weekends: the starts of Sebastian Saavedra. It's true, in the first of the two rounds, the Colombian succeeded in getting away from his grid position - but lost two places, nevertheless. "I just focused on the start itself," he revealed after the race, "And didn't bother if it would be a good or a bad one." On the grid of the second round, however, it was back to normal: engine stalled and dropped back to a midfield position. And later, a collision made a sudden end to his race. The 17-year old must be careful to not be left behind, by his competitors. At least, he succeeded in scoring three extra points for his two pole positions and a fastest race lap.
In the ATS Formula 3 Trophy, Bernd Herndlhofer also successfully defended his lead but having finished fourth and second, he failed to open a gap on his chasers. While Marco Oberhauser and Denis Swart were the race winners of the weekend. In the second round, Swart even seemed to be on the way to secure points for the overall rankings but in the closing stages of the race, he was passed by Vanthoor and had to settle for finishing ninth. At the same time, Shirley van der Lof once again delivered in fine style. The fast Dutch girl came second and fourth to secure fifth position in the Trophy ranking.