ATS: Series Sachsenring summary

A lot of sunshine and 30,000 enthusiastic fans (22.09.2009) 30,000 spectators at the Sachsenring witnessed Stef Dusseldorp (Netherlands) working hard to secure the runner-up position in the ATS Formula 3 Cup Championship, in the end. Four weeks...

A lot of sunshine and 30,000 enthusiastic fans

(22.09.2009) 30,000 spectators at the Sachsenring witnessed Stef Dusseldorp (Netherlands) working hard to secure the runner-up position in the ATS Formula 3 Cup Championship, in the end. Four weeks ago, his Belgian team-mate, Laurens Vanthoor, had secured the championship title in Germany's fastest single-seater series. Now, Volkswagen and Team Van-Amersfoort can celebrate a one-two in the championship. Therefore, the entire mechanic-crew surprised Dusseldorp on Sunday with an extensive champagne shower.

Before doing so, however, all those involved had had to encounter some difficult moments - although Dusseldorp was in the clearly more promising position, prior to the Sunday round. On Saturday he had finished second while his only rival in the battle for the runner-up position, Rafael Suzuki, scored just a single point. Consequently, Dusseldorp's strategy for the Sunday race was simple: finish ahead of Suzuki and you've made it. But he stalled his engine at the start, dropped back behind Suzuki - and the strategy was history. With a lot of fury and fighting spirit, however, he battled his way back up to finish sixth and secure the runner-up position in the championship.

The event The 15th and 16th ATS Formula 3 Cup rounds were held in the series usual environment, the ADAC Masters Weekend - and at one of the most popular race venues on the calendar, the Sachsenring. Here, both the track and the atmosphere are just great. In great late-summer conditions, some 30,000 spectators came to the circuit and many of them arrived early in the morning to not miss a single race. Particularly impressive: the extraordinary expertise and enthusiasm of the Eastern German motor-racing fans.

Due to the splitting of the paddock, the access to the track is slightly more difficult for the Formula 3 than usually. In the past years, the ATS Formula 3 Cup therefore opted for a compact qualifying format. This year, however, the time schedule featured two 30-minute qualifying sessions. For the drivers a highly appreciated additional chance of familiarising themselves with the track.

Grid news The entry list for the 15th and 16th rounds again featured several interesting innovations and well-known faces respectively. The HS Technik line-up reminded of the 2006 season, with Latvian Harald Schlegelmilch being joined by his 2006 team-mate Joey Foster (England). Rafael Suzuki had switched HS Technik to Jenichen Motorsport. While Germany's Peter Elkmann raced a single-seater entered by Performance Racing. "It was just great to be back racing in the Cup," said the 2005 champion. "I had a lot of fun and I have to underline that the ATS Formula 3 Cup has turned into an even better and more challenging series."

Both Willi Steindl and Ali Zahir did without contesting the Sachsenring weekend. They both want to use their budget for testing to be able to really go for it, in the 2010 season. "There is no doubt that I'm going to contest the 2010 ATS Formula 3 Cup season," said Steindl. "We currently are in truly promising negotiations with several teams." While an injury forced Franz-Woss-Racing driver Francesco Lopez to skip the rounds held at the Sachsenring.

Paddock news HS Technik travelled to the Sachsenring with a completely new special semitrailer the team had picked up at specialist Schuler just a few days prior to the Sachsenring weekend. "And it takes some days to fully equip a new Formula 3 semitrailer properly," said Team Principal Michael Hascic.

Several Austrians cooperated to ensure the race - and the future win - of Tom Dillmann. "While checking the car prior to the start we found a broken brake pipe," reveals Neuhauser Team Principal Knud Rieser. "We hadn't a lot of time but needed a replacement." The replacement was found at the reserve car of their compatriots, Team HS Technik. And Dillmann made it to the starting grid just in time. "I'm happy about the success of Tom and Neuhauser Racing," said Martin Ertl, HD Technik Team Manager, afterwards.

The standings The battle for the ATS Formula 3 Trophy title also came to its end at the Sachsenring - even before the cars had gone out for the first time. Italo-German Francesco Lopez was the only driver who could have stolen the title from Sergey Chukanov and as Lopez couldn't race, due to his injury, the Ukrainian won his well deserved title by default.

The fight for the ZF - auto motor und sport - Juniorpokal, however, is not yet over. In the season finale at Oschersleben, Dusseldorp must score a single point to definitely defeat his only title rival, Markus Pommer. 20 points can be scored on a race weekend and the Dutchman travels to the Motorsportarena with a 19-point lead over his German opponent.

-credit: ats

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Series F3
Drivers Joey Foster , Harald Schlegelmilch , Tom Dillmann , Zahir Ali , Laurens Vanthoor , Stef Dusseldorp , Markus Pommer , Rafael Suzuki