Roberto MerhiManor Motorsport’s rising single-seater talent Roberto Merhi produced two excellent race drives at Oschersleben in Germany over the weekend, 1st/2nd August, during the ninth and 10th rounds of the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries.

With F3 Euroseries racing at Oschersleben’s Motorsport Arena for the first time since 2006, Merhi underlined his ability during his first ever competitive qualifying run at the track with the fourth fastest time during Friday afternoon’s session – a lap of 1m21.116 seconds (164.032 km/h) placing him just four 10ths of a second shy of pole position.

In the opening encounter of the weekend on Saturday morning, the Spanish teenager raced superbly to his third podium result of the campaign, finishing around three seconds clear of closest challenger Christian Vietoris. His race wasn’t without incident though, a small mistake on lap 10 forcing the Manor star to run off track at the chicane, but he recovered without drama to take a fine third place.

After the race, Merhi said: “My start was good, I could battle with Valtteri Bottas for second place but unfortunately he came out on top. After that, I tried to follow him but I made a mistake on lap 10 or so and I was briefly off the track. Then, I concentrated on bringing third place home.”

For Brazilian pairing Cesar Ramos and Pedro Enrique, Oschersleben didn’t prove to be a happy hunting ground. Things originally looked good for Ramos in qualifying, the South American posting the 15th fastest time with one of his best performances of the year, a lap of 1m21.739 seconds (162.782 km/h) placing him as the fifth highest rookie. Enrique, meanwhile, was half a second further adrift with a time of 1m22.242 seconds (161.786 km/h) sealing a position on the 11th row.

Unfortunately, the opening race of the weekend on the 3.7 kilometre circuit failed to deliver good results for either of the drivers with both ending up a lap down on the final classification and still in search of their first points of the season.

Round 10 then turned out to be a confusing affair when a total of 21 drivers were given 30 second time penalties towards the end of the race for setting their best lap times while yellow flags were being shown during a cautionary period. This meant Merhi, who had been in fourth place, dropped back to fifth position, Ramos was 16th and Enrique, the last driver on the lead lap, was 21st.

Manor’s Formula 3 team will be back in action just a fortnight from now, 15th/16th August, at the Nurburgring in Germany – the home of the 2009 FIA Formula One German Grand Prix – for the 11th and 12th rounds of the 2009 campaign.

In the meantime, television highlights of this weekend’s races from Oschersleben will be screened on Sky Sports 3 in the UK at 21.00 tomorrow night, Tuesday, 4th August. Please check listings for details of further transmissions throughout the week.

Provisional 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries Driver Standings (after Rd10):
4th Roberto Merhi, 28pts; Cesar Ramos & Pedro Enrique – No Score

Provisional 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries Team Standings (after Rd10):
4th Manor Motorsport, 28pts

Photo by F3 Euro Series.