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Category: Masters of Formula 3

Antonio GiovinazziAntonio Giovinazzi impressed during the 23rd staging of the prestigious RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 race at Zandvoort in The Netherlands this afternoon, Sunday, 7th July, to seal a hard-fought top 10 finish for Double R Racing on his debut in the blue riband event.

In warm and sunny conditions at the famous Dutch venue, the Dallara-Mercedes driver started the encounter from 15th on the grid and although elbowed back a position after being held up into Turn One, Tarzan, he mounted a strong drive through the order.

Gaining a couple of places on lap five, after Lucas Auer and Sven Muller tangled at Tarzan, Giovinazzi piled on the pressure to local racer Dennis van de Laar and made the breakthrough on the seventh tour to take 13th place. Swiftly dispatching Josh Hill shortly after on the very same lap, the Double R man moved into the top 12.

Quickly reeling in Michael Lewis, Giovinazzi then spent the remainder of the 25-lap encounter trying to get by the overtly defensive American. Attempting everything he could to get alongside his rival, the Italian bravely tried to go around the outside of Lewis at Tarzan on lap 20 and managed to remain wheel-to-wheel as he nosed ahead into 11th place on the exit.

Edged wide onto the grass, Giovinazzi lost momentum for the next left-hander and so Lewis was able to re-assume 11th position. Retirement for Tom Blomqvist three laps from the finish, though, hoisted Giovinazzi into 11th before moving into the top 10 on the last lap when the relentless pressure finally told and Lewis slipped back a couple of positions. Notably, Giovinazzi set the fourth fastest race lap.

“Antonio did a great job”, said Double R Racing team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “He delivered impressive pace and was a real handful, it’s just a shame we couldn’t get ahead of van de Laar and Lewis sooner as Antonio had the speed. It’s a good result though for his first time at Zandvoort, and good experience for the European Championship race here in September.”

Team-mate Sean Gelael’s Masters of F3 debut came to an unfortunate and all-too-early end on lap 13 after an excursion while running in 18th position. Qualifying 21st on the grid, the Indonesian racer gained two places on the opening lap and did a good job of holding position despite strong pressure.

Moving into 17th place on lap five, as a result of the Auer/Muller incident, Gelael slipped behind the advancing Roy Nissany on lap six. He was then elbowed back to 18th position on the eighth tour prior to his unfortunate retirement soon after.

Tatiana Calderón finished her maiden Masters of F3 outing inside the top 20 after a consistent and controlled drive. Lining up on the last row of the grid in 24th place, the Colombian gained a position straight away and moved into 21st on lap five when Auer and Muller collided.

Fending off the attentions of Andre Rudersdorf for several laps, Calderón had to give best on the eighth tour but moved back into 21st following Gelael’s retirement and then climbed into the top 20 when Blomqvist retired with just three laps remaining.

“Both Sean and Tatiana performed well this weekend, it was a big challenge racing at the Masters for the first time and trying to learn about the Kumho tyres”, added Hieatt, “It’s a shame Sean’s race ended all too early, he’d been going well, but Tatiana’s top 20 was a solid effort.”

Double R Racing will be back in action next weekend, 13th/14th July, with the resumption of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the Norisring in Germany.

Emil BernstorffBernstorff who got a late call up to take the empty Prema seat signs off with finishing a strong 3rd in the biggest Formula 3 race in Europe.

Bernstorff who is competing in the German formula 3 championship this year surprised many by jumping into the Dallara F312 Prema car and immediately setting good times in Practice 1 & 2.

“I felt comfortable in the car from the start of the weekend” said a delighted Bernstorff “It is never easy to jump into a new car with a new team, but it worked out pretty well, big thank you to Prema for giving me this opportunity and for providing such a good car.”

Bernstorff got faster and faster. throughout the weekend and had it not been for a small mistake in the last corner of his quick qualifying lap he would have started 2nd.

Bernstorff had a good start. “I saw that Harry (Tincknell) had a slow getaway and a gap opened around the outside, I went for it and managed to pass him in the first corner” explained Bernstorff.

Towards the end of the race having nurtured his tyres Bernstorff pushed hard and caught up with Alex Lynn but could not get close enough and had to settle for third 1 second behind his teammate but well clear of the remainder of the field.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist became only the second driver in history to win the classic Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort twice, controlling the 2013 edition from pole position on Sunday afternoon to equal a feat previously only achieved by F1 star Valtteri Bottas.

Rosenqvist – who won the Dutch blue-riband event for the first time in 2011 – dominated proceedings throughout, going fastest in free practice as well as both of Saturday’s qualifying sessions as he became the first Swede ever to claim Masters of Formula 3 pole position. In the race itself, Rosenqvist then maintained his ultra-strong form, winning by 5.7 seconds and underlining his pace by posting the fastest lap.

“An unbelievable weekend – everything has really gone absolutely according to plan,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I want to thank the entire team at Mücke Motorsport for giving me such a great car, and this is a victory I’ll always remember. It feels fantastic to have won the Masters of Formula 3 a second time, and to have done it in this emphatic way. We’ve been the fastest in practice, both qualifying sessions and in the race, and it simply doesn’t get any better. I pushed for the first three laps and quite quickly got a decent gap, and then it was all about controlling the lead. Now, the team has deserved to celebrate this success, but then we need to swap our attention towards the next race first thing tomorrow.”

Rosenqvist’s advantage over the rest of the 24-car field possibly best manifested itself in qualifying, where the 21-year-old Mercedes junior bagged pole position by almost three tenths of a second.

Felix Rosenqvist will return to action next weekend, as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship hits the streets of Nuremberg in Germany for its traditional summer visit to the Norisring.

Photo by Thomas Suer / ts-photo.de.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist will take part in the 2013 RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort, as he makes his third consecutive start in the prestigious standalone event. Rosenqvist became the first Swede ever to win the Dutch classic with a triumphant performance on his debut in 2011, and is once again set to represent his regular outfit Mücke Motorsport. The 21-year-old will head into the blue-riband race sitting in second place overall in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship standings, having installed himself in the F3 history books with an emphatic clean-sweep of victories at the latest round of the season in Austria.

“It feels great to be back on the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 grid again this year,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “My 2011 win remains one of my fondest memories, and – considering our recent form in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship – we have reason to be optimistic about our chances. Still, I am absolutely convinced that this will mark a real challenge for us. We will be racing on different tyres to those we use during the rest of the season, and that has a very significant impact on the car. Having said that, however, we did gather plenty of data last year, and that will hopefully allow us to field a strong package and fight for the win.”

The RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 is an esteemed highlight on the international junior single-seater calendar, and widely regarded as one of the two most important F3 events on the globe next to the end-of-season Macau Grand Prix in China. Apart from Rosenqvist, the list of previous winners includes the likes of Formula 1 stars Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Jules Bianchi and Valtteri Bottas.

“We are excited to return to the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 together with Felix next month,” says Peter Mücke (Mücke Motorsport team principal). “He heads into the race as the only previous winner on the grid on the back of our 2011 victory, and he is certainly one of the favourites again this time around. Felix’s European Championship results speak for themselves – what he did in Austria last time out was absolutely spectacular – and we will do everything we can to keep it all up at Zandvoort.”

The RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 takes place on July 5-7.

Photo by Mattias Persson.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist became the first Swede ever to win the classic RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 race at Zandvoort last weekend, as he crossed the line five seconds clear of runner-up Marco Wittmann to add his name to a list of winners that includes the likes of Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard.

After a couple of hectic days in the aftershock of his career’s biggest moment so far, Felix now shares his views on how he won a race in which he wasn’t even sure he would compete just one week earlier, and how he managed to overcome a high-speed crash to produce Mücke Motorsport’s second ever victory in one of the most important events on the single-seater calendar.

Mattias Persson: 2011 RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 winner – sounds OK, doesn’t it?
Felix Rosenqvist: It’s not too bad! It’s a good feeling.

Mattias Persson: You took the lead just seconds after the start when the Prema Powerteam guys collided on the run down to Turn 1, and then you controlled the race from the front. What thoughts were going through your head when you approached the chequered flag and realised that you were going to win?
Felix Rosenqvist: To be honest, I actually didn’t know it was the final lap, but when I saw the chequered flag it was a big relief. It’s always tough to run on your own at the front, as time just passes by so slowly when you are counting down the laps. Added to that, you are the one who has the most to lose from a mistake, so the pressure is quite intense – but that’s also something you always get better at handling.

Mattias Persson: You crashed on the fastest section of the lap during Saturday free practice, and the next time you returned to the cockpit was in the do-or-die setting of qualifying. How was your confidence for the car affected by that crash?
Felix Rosenqvist: You inevitably do become a bit concerned, but I really didn’t think about it at all during qualifying. I think it’s important that you’re able to put things like that behind you and move on, and also that you make sure to learn from it.

Mattias Persson: Many people have described this victory as somewhat of a breakthrough for you. Is that how you feel as well?
Felix Rosenqvist: My performance as a driver was about the same as in any other race this year. It’s all about getting the complete package together – engineers, mechanics, driver, and the co-operation between us. My job is to always give 110 % and extract everything from what I’ve got; sometimes it’s good enough for fourth, sometimes for eighth, and this time – when everything came together – it was enough to win.

Mattias Persson: If you could choose the three main factors that contributed the most to last Sunday’s success, what would they be?
Felix Rosenqvist: First of all, things were obviously made easier when Roberto (Merhi) and Daniel (Juncadella) clashed off the line, but I still feel I could have challenged them into Turn 1 since I made a very good start. Secondly, our car performed extremely well throughout an entire race, which is definitely one of the main keys. The third contributing factor was that I was able to do a clean race without any real mistakes, and managed to produce some “perfect” laps when we needed them. That enabled me to open up a gap of five or six seconds, which I could then control.

Mattias Persson: You have always seemed to enjoy racing in the Netherlands; last year saw you claim your first two F3 victories at Assen, and you took to the podium in all three Formula 3 Euro Series races at Zandvoort earlier this season. What’s the deal with you and tulips!?
Felix Rosenqvist: It’s actually pretty funny. I don’t know why, but things have just turned out in such a way that I’ve been on the podium every time I’ve raced in the Netherlands. I like the country, the people and the culture, but I don’t think that has any effect on my results. It’s probably just a mix of coincidences and the fact that I like both the Assen and Zandvoort circuits very much.

Mattias Persson: You have already said that this achievement – as important as it may be – will not get in the way of your preparations for the rest of the campaign. Next up is the Formula 3 Euro Series meeting at Silverstone in about three weeks – what are your thoughts going into that weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: No, I think it’s vital to stay focused on the Formula 3 Euro Series season – that’s the most important thing in my career at the moment. We have three rounds to go and things look very positive. Silverstone is a circuit which I haven’t driven at a lot – I just did a short low downforce test there ahead of Macau last year – so I can’t say too much about it. Having said that, though, I know that most drivers enjoy going there, and the section around Copse through to Maggotts and Becketts is brilliant. It will be a big challenge, but also lots of fun!

Mattias Persson: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all those who followed you last weekend?
Felix Rosenqvist: I just really want to thank them all, and I hope they feel part of this success. The support I’ve had throughout the season, and especially following my victory, has been absolutely fantastic. I received so many messages and congratulations after Zandvoort that I simply couldn’t answer them all. Unbelievable! It really means a lot to see how much people want you to succeed, and I am enormously thankful for all the support I get from my fans!

Felix Rosenqvist, Masters of Formula 3Felix Rosenqvist claimed the most significant victory of his career so far when he became the first Swede ever to win the prestigious RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort on Sunday afternoon. Rosenqvist led the race, which is considered as one of the two most important on the international F3 calendar, from lights to flag and took the chequered flag more than five seconds clear of second-placed Marco Wittmann (Germany). To underline his performance even further, the Mücke Motorsport driver also set the fastest lap of the race on his debut in the classic event.

“A great feeling, and easily the sweetest victory so far in my career,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It is fantastic to have been able to give the team this success following all the hard work they have undertaken to help get us to this level, and the car felt supreme all weekend. Furthermore, I didn’t exactly make their situation easier by a 180 km/h crash in Saturday practice, so I really have to thank the team for their contribution to this victory. Our race pace enabled me to open up a gap shortly after the start, and then it was all about controlling the race and taking the car home.”

The 19-year-old Värnamo resident qualified in third place on the grid for Sunday’s 25-lap race, but took the lead after just a handful of metres as he managed to steer clear of a multi-car pile-up on the run down to Turn 1. Rosenqvist then extended his lead with as much as one second per lap in the beginning of the race, and the victory places him on the same list of Masters of Formula 3 winners as the likes of Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard.

“We will now celebrate this the way it should be celebrated, but then our focus will shift very quickly towards the next round of the Formula 3 Euro Series championship at Silverstone,” Rosenqvist concludes. “I will remain in the Netherlands together with my team tonight, and I am already looking forward to getting back in the car again. It is great to have won this important race.”

The Formula 3 Euro Series round at Silverstone (Great Britain) takes place on September 9-11.

Carlin Motorsport will take drivers from both its British F3 team and F3 Euro Series team to the RTL GP Masters of F3 Zolder this weekend. The British based squad, who are the only team to run cars in both the British and European championships, will be represented in Zolder by Red Bull duo Brendon Hartley and Jaime Alguersuari and Euro Series racers Rodolfo Gonzalez and Richard Philippe.

Hartley and Alguersuari have been two of the front runners in this year’s British F3 series, taking six wins between them so far this season. Hartley will be one of the only drivers in the field to have experience of both the British and European championships, having raced at the Nürburgring round of the Euro Series last month. It will also be the young Kiwi’s second visit to the Masters, following a successful debut last year that saw Hartley come home in an impressive fourth place.

Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari makes his debut in the F3 Masters this year, but has experience of the Zolder track from his time in Formula Renault Eurocup. The 18 year-old rookie has been one of the revelations of the 2008 season in Britain, taking a race victory in his first ever F3 event. Alguersuari’s consistent string of results means he currently leads the British F3 Series and is a strong contender for a podium finish at Zolder.

Carlin’s F3 Euro Series drivers will also be heading to Belgium next weekend, but it will be a new experience for both Richard Philippe and Rodolfo Gonzalez, who will make their first visit to both the Masters and the Zolder circuit.

F3 Euro Series driver Rodolfo Gonzalez said, “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, it should be interesting to see how we compare to the British guys. It’s my first time at the Masters, and I’m pleased to be taking part this year. I’ve never been to Zolder before, but I’ve heard that the track is very quick in some parts and technical in others, but I think we have enough time to get to grips with the track in practice. The team already have experience at Zolder so I’m feeling quite confident.”

British F3 racer Brendon Hartley added, “To be honest I’ve got quite high expectations this year, last year I finished fourth, so I’m aiming to improve and be on podium this year. The Masters is normally a real challenge for the British teams, but I think with the knowledge gained through Carlin’s Euro Series team and the way the team is performing in the British Series at the moment, we will be pretty strong.”

Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “We want to measure ourselves against the best in Europe and the F3 Masters is still the premier European event at this level. For the first time this year, the team will be represented by cars from the British and the European championships. The F3 Masters is an extremely competitive event, which pitches the best drivers and teams against each other, but we are hoping to gain some advantage due to the work and knowledge gained through our F3 Euro Series team. The British squad are on a high after some fantastic results at Spa and by bringing together the knowledge of both the British and European teams, we will be aiming for the podium.”

Rodolfo AvilaMacanese single-seater driver Rodolfo Avila went to Belgium to contest for the first time the hotly disputed “Zandvoort Master of F3” at Zolder. For the Macau SAR representative this race was a test on a high level scenario for the end of the year Macau Grand Prix – FIA Intercontinental F3 Cup. Avila managed to finish 25th in a harsh weekend.

The single Qualifying session saw Avila battling against an undesirable flu. Even sick Avila put the No. 25 HBR Motorsport Dallara F307-Mercedes Benz in thirty third on the 36 cars grid. “I just wanted to go home as I was feeling very weak but I knew I had to do it. We started to catch up the pace with new tyres and in other circumstances I could achieved a better time”, he said.

The 27 lap after lunch race was held in warm, sunny weather, with considerably higher temperatures than Saturday’s qualifying, one of the most challenging events on the Macanese driver calendar this season. Avila did a nice start and climbed several positions until he was hit from behind. The 20 years old driver ended in the back of the field. He pushed on but was unable to make an impressive headway. In the last two laps the aero kit side wings broke which denied him to keep pushing.

“I’m slightly upset with the final result but we chose to race here instead of practicing alone. We decided to fight with ‘big guys’ to understand our level at the point. Racing is the best way to get involved with the team. Now we know what we should do to improve”, said the driver supported by Macau Government, Macau-slot.com, BNU, CESLAsia, PAL AsiaConsult, TsingTao, Fat Siu Lau Restaurant, Sujika Crafts and PT Asia.

With this result Avila got the 15th position for Macau in the “F3 Nations Cup” after competing with 21 countries and territories. This was the first time that Macau flag was waved on this European rising stars prestigious motorsport event.

Following two test days and two race events in two weeks, Avila will be back in action later in August. International Formula Master rounds 11 and 12 will take place in Oschersleben, Germany on 25 and 26 August 2007. Avila is occupying the 14th position on the Pan-European TV-Channel Eurosport supported championship.

As every year the main Teams and drivers registered in various Formula 3 National championships took part in the meeting organized at the Dutch circuit of Zandvoort, for the first international event of the category, the Formula 3 Masters, this year sponsored by BP Ultimate.

Prema went on track with the Spaniard Alejandro Nunez, Irish Ronayne O’Mahony and Italian Paolo Nocera.

The weekend was organized during two days. On Saturday the drivers were involved in two free practice sessions and in two qualifying sessions that determined the starting grid of the race that was held on Sunday.

During the free practice sessions our drivers obtained good chronometric results that demonstrate the good work done. Unfortunately, the qualifying results didn’t confirm what was obtained during the free practice and our drivers concluded respectively in tenth position of his group for Nunez, and fourteenth and fifteenth of their group for O’Mahony and Nocera. For these both drivers the result was compromised by an incident in the important final stage of the qualifying session.

The positions in qualifying compromised a possible race result. The circuit of Zandvoort is certainly not easy for overtaking. Concerning the race result, Nunez finished seventeenth, O’Mahony twenty-fourth and Nocera thirtieth.

Paolo’s debut inside the Team was good and the race was highly competitive. Some mistakes compromised a possible better result.

Now the Team will prepare for the next race of the Formula 3 Euro Series 2006 Championship scheduled on the circuit of Nurburgring in two weeks time.