Cesar RamosYorkshire-based Formula 3 Euroseries team Manor Motorsport had a frustrating return to Zandvoort over the weekend, 18th/19th July, when a potential podium challenge by Roberto Merhi was halted after he was adjudged to have made a jump-start to round seven.

Having visited the Dutch venue a month ago for the stand-alone Tango Masters of Formula 3 race, Manor was hopeful of a successful weekend for its impressive young Spanish charge who has proven to be a superb talent in only his first season of action at the pinnacle of F3 racing,

Lining up sixth on the grid for the first race of the weekend on Saturday, 18th July, the 18-year-old got away from the line a little too well according to championship officials. After running a solid fifth for the first eight laps, Merhi was then handed a jump-start penalty and the net result meant he was classified in 18th place at the finish.

Team-mates Pedro Enrique and Cesar Ramos both raced well during the opening encounter and finished 14th and 17th respectively after coming through from 20th and 26th on the grid, the rookie Brazilian pairing improving more and more in race conditions as the season unfolds.

For round eight on Sunday, 19th July, Merhi underlined his racecraft and pace by scything his way through from the ninth row of the grid into an 11th place finish – just missing out on the top 10 by a little over a second.

Again, Ramos and Enrique performed well with the former getting the better of his South American countryman by taking a fine 13th position. At the chequered flag on lap 26, the Manor team-mates were split by just half a second. Although the squad wasn’t able to score points this weekend, Manor Motorsport still retains fourth in the entrant standings.

John Booth, team principal of Manor Motorsport, commented: “Obviously, we’re disappointed to have come away from Zandvoort without any points as Roberto proved he had the pace to run in the lead bunch. It’s just a shame he had the jump-start penalty in race one. In the second race, all three drivers did a good job. Pedro and Cesar continue to improve with each outing, we’re pleased with the progress they’re making.”

Television highlights of the weekend’s race action at Zandvoort will be screened in the UK on digital satellite channel Sky Sports Xtra on Tuesday evening, 21st July, at 19.00. Please check listings for more details.

Oschersleben in Germany will host the next event on the 2009 F3 Euroseries calendar, rounds nine and 10, a fortnight from now on 1st/2nd August.

Provisional 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries Driver Standings (after Rd8):
5th Roberto Merhi, 20pts; Cesar Ramos & Pedro Enrique – No Score

Provisional 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries Team Standings (after Rd8):
4th Manor Motorsport, 20pts