Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes, DTM, Hockenheimring, 2015

DTM, Eurocup and Japanese F3 titles won

Weekend racing wrap

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff was present at the Hockenheimring to see the team’s junior driver Pascal Wehrlein become the youngest ever DTM champion.

Elsewhere Jack Aitken and Nick Cassidy clinched junior series championship titles.

DTM

Races 17 and 18: Hockenheimring, Germany

Eighth place in the first of the weekend’s two races was enough for Mercedes F1 test driver Pascal Wehrlein to clinch the title, becoming the youngest ever DTM champion. Wehrlein’s closest rivals – Audi duo Mattias Ekstrom and Edoardo Mortara – finished off the podium which was headed by their team mates Timo Schneider and Jamie Green followed by BMW’s pole sitter Maxime Martin.

The newly-crowned champion endured a miserable final race in the season finale, limping home 20th. A fourth win of the year for Green – who had been winless since claiming victory in three of the opening four events – moved him up to second in the final standings ahead of Ekstrom and Mortara, who joined him on the podium

Formula Renault 3.5

Races 16 and 17: Jerez, Spain

Oliver Rowland looked set to achieve his goal of adding a double race victory at Jerez to the championship he secured at Le Mans. He won Saturday’s rain-affected race after passing Tom Dillmann when the pole sitter suffered a puncture, which Dillmann blamed on contact from his rival. Pole position on Sunday put him on course for his first double win of the season, but a mistake on the slippery track at the end of lap one opened the door for Nyck de Vries to end the season with his maiden triumph.

Rowland nonetheless now holds the records for most Formula Renault 3.5 wins of all time – ten – and most in a season – eight, beating the record set by Carlos Sainz Jnr last year. The championship will no longer be administered by Renault next year, with Jaime Alguersuari’s RPM Racing taking control of the series he originally founded in 1999.

European Formula Three

Races 31, 32 and 33: Hockenheimring, Germany

Felix Rosenqvist already had the title in the bag but that didn’t stop him taking yet another race win, as he won the last race of the season at the Hockenheimring in a race that summed up perfectly the events of the season, blighted by no fewer than four Safety Car periods.

Antonio Giovinazzi secured second place in the standings with a win in the second race. Charles Leclerc, who shone in the series’ first visit to Hockenheim five months ago, completed a 16-race run without a podium finish yet held on to the top rookie honours earned by his Van Amersfoort Racing predecessor Max Verstappen 12 months ago.

Ferrari junior Lance Stroll ended his turbulent year on a high with his first win of the season in the opening race of the weekend.

Super Formula

Round 6: Sugo, Japan

Andre Lotterer’s second win of the year means he will go into the double-header finale at Suzuka with an outside chance of taking the title

Points leader Hiroaki Ishiura could only manage fifth place in the penultimate round of the year at Sugo, one place behind closest title rival Kazuki Nakajima.

Nakajima led from Lotterer after another rapid start but was passed by his team mate early on. Joao Paulo de Oliveira’s podium hopes were dashed after he stalled in the pits, leaving Honda-powered duo Naoki Yamamoto and Tomoki Nojiri to take second and third while Toyota extended their monopoly on victories to a full calendar year.

Ishiura goes into the double-header finale six points ahead of Nakajima with 18 up for grabs.

Next round: Suzuka, Japan (8th November)

World Rallycross Championship

Round 12: Franciacorta, Italy

Andreas Bakkerud took his first win of the season in Italy while reining Champion Petter Solberg closed on his second consecutive title after rival Timmy Hansen suffered issues and was unable to start the semi finals.

Bakkerud took a fairly comfortable victory ahead of Johan Kristoffersson while Solberg completed the podium.

Next round: Autodromo Rosendo Hernandez, Argentina (28th-29th November)

NASCAR

Round 31: Kansas Speedway

Joey Logano repeated his victory of a week ago after clashing with Matt Kenseth, leaving his rival at risk of not making it through to the next round of the chase for the cup.

Next round: Talladega Superspeedway (25th October)

Guest Series

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup races 15, 16 and 17: Jerez, Spain

Back-to-back wins from pole in two very wet races on Saturday made Jack Aitken the lead driver in a three-way title showdown on Sunday. However a technical problem forced him to start the final race from the pits – a disappointment which was tempered by the fact he’d only qualified 25th after a spin. But his title rivals failed to capitalise: from third on the grid Louis Deletraz slumped to sixth, when Kevin Jorg squandered his chance the moment he pulled away from the grid on wet tyres on a dry track.

Deletraz had led the championship from the first race of the year, but Aitken’s fifth win of the season on Saturday meant that despite his Sunday drama he ended the season as champion.

Japanese F3 races 16 and 17: Sugo, Japan

New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy and Japan’s Kenta Yamashita had thus far been in fine form throughout the year, both with 5 wins from 15 races, and it was those two fighting it out for the title. Pole position for both races went to Cassidy, with Nissan’s GT Academy star Lucas Ordonez second. Yamashita took the third spot for race one and fourth for race two.

Cassidy held a four-point lead after qualifying, and took victory in race one ahead of Ordonez. Yamashita lost the final podium spot to Honda protege Nirei Fukuzumi by only 58 thousandths of a second. With Cassidy also taking fastest lap, he went into the final race holding an 11-point lead with exactly that many available.

A win and fastest lap for Yamashita could have given him the title had Cassidy failed to score: the Japanese driver would have won on countback of third places. But the calculators weren’t needed: Cassidy dominated the final, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Ordonez with Yamashita third. His final margin of victory in the championship was 16 points, and gave him his first title since the Toyota Racing Series two years ago.

Over to you

Which of these season ending encounters did you watch and enjoy? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend the F1 drivers’ championship could be decided at the Circuit of the Americas. We also have the penultimate round of the WRC from Spain, V8 Supercars and NASCAR.

And while most series are winding down Formula E is about to get started again: the 2015-16 season sparks into life in China on Saturday.

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  • 20 comments on “DTM, Eurocup and Japanese F3 titles won”

    1. If you want to give something new a try and you’re open to enjoy motorcycle racing I strongly advise you take a look at this weekends MotoGP race at Phillip Island. Races rarely come much better whatever vehicles people drive. The highlights of that race could easily be another 25 minutes.

      1. Agreed – was glued to the TV for the entire race.
        I missed the Moto3 race though by minutes and heard it was a cracker – caught a replay today and it didn’t disappoint.

        1. @johnson102 more often than not I find the Moto3 races the best of the bunch. The battles are intense, positions change all the time and the effects of slipstreaming and drafting are huge. Large groups tend to remain together for a long time and positions within such groups might as well be reversed from one lap (nay, one straight!) to the next.

          Having said that, this weekend could be different. I have still to watch the Moto3 race (have it on DVR) but it’ll be hard to top what MotoGP has served us.

          1. I’m starting to feel this way on GP2 and GP3. After Philip Island, now MotoGP..

      2. Was Awesome! On par with Rossi vs Lorenzo Duel back in the day at Barcelona 2009

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      19th October 2015, 10:11

      With renault no longer administering FR3.5 from next year, is this confirmation that FIAs superlicence system has officially killed this great series?

      1. @fullcoursecaution I would say the super licence system has led Renault to drop FR3.5. They’re not dead yet, however – they’ve been taken over and will run next year, although not all details are clear yet.

        Not that I’m overly optimistic – I’m not sure they will survive for a long time. I fear they might now be going the way of A1GP, AutoGP, FA1, and others, all high power single seater series, ultimately without enough backing to survive.

        1. I’ll make this point again: The best alternative right now to the “main” junior formula categories is the ELMS, WEC LMP2 or LMP3 – for a fraction of the cost of being a GP2 driver you can race the 24h Le Mans and other marquee events instead of racing on someone’s support bill without a guarantee of your talents being showcased properly.

      2. @fullcoursecaution Yep. GP3, British F3, German F3, Italian F3 and FR2.0 Eurocup will soon follow.

    3. I know that there is plenty wrong with DTM – DRS, team orders and the immense lobbying power of the manufacturers to name just a few issues – but there is something about it. Yesterday’s race was a lesson in driving precision and race management from two of the finest names outside of F1 – Jamie Green and Mattias Ekstrom. It was a duel, and whilst there was no overtaking, it reminded me of the duel between Button and Alonso at the 2010 Italian GP, where one mistake would have let the other car through. And yet whilst an under pressure Green made no mistakes, he was visibly on the ragged edge of performance throughout the duration of the race. For me, that is an exhibition in driving excellence, and an exhibition that really only F1, LMP1 and DTM can offer on a consistent basis.

      I also think it should be compulsory for the entire grid to reduce their rear tyres to smoke after the final race of the season as we saw in DTM yesterday!

      1. The trouble with the DTM is that everyone is doing the same thing, so the gimmicks, performance weights, DRS, tyre compounds last year, have way too much effect, leading to manufacturers alternating domination of weekends and drivers playing the brand solidarity game from very early on in the year. It’s like a caricature of motor racing, and I happily missed it this weekend.
        And the manufacturer lobbying is crazy. The rulemakers slated an engine format change for 2017, but Mercedes has come along and said they won’t do it, and that could be enough to delay their introduction.

        You’re right though, there is something good about the DTM: you just have to look to Japan to find it. Super GT’s GT500 have got on with it and are already using the turbo straight 4, some with a hybrid system, the drivers are every bit as good, the races are longer, there’s no DRS, a tyre war, and properly independent teams who will race each other (the ends of the WEC and Super GT rounds at Fuji couldn’t be more different).

    4. I watched MotoGP and FR3.5 this weekend, with FR2.0 and F3 still in the back log.

      Gutted for Dean Stoneman who had an absolute disastrous weekend and went from third in the standings and top rookie, to sixth and third best rookie. Made the gamble for slicks on Saturday which didn’t turn out to be the right call (not even by a long shot). Then on Sunday Celis Jr. had the bright idea to, after nearly stalling at the grid and thus having a disastrous start, pull toward the left in order to try and defend against cars who were coming past him a lot faster than he was driving – and in doing so hit Stoneman whose suspension snapped instantly.
      I think Dean deserved way more than that after a solid first season.

      Happy for de Vries though. After three second place finishes, he was due a win and he finally got it. A very solid season for him as well.

      1. I can see why he gambled, as it might have been a great call, but in reality it took too long for them to warm up without tyre blankets. In hindsight, he was best served staying out for safe points, but he probably felt the pressure of de Vries being ahead on track.

    5. That’s just really upsetting to see Stoneman go a whole season without winning. I thought for sure that he’d end up a champion this year, let alone at least winning one race. A great man who deserved a lot better than that.

      1. He got Red Bull backing despite being much older than their other juniors… can’t see them retaining him for 2016.

        1. @jb001 Yeah, especially if gaining a superlicence was one of the provisos in that. Technically, he won one on track, but lost it with a pit lane speeding penalty in race 2. Of course, that’s not the only thing that affected it, but it does show how cruel the new FIA points system is going to be.

          1. Bad luck doesn’t explain the races where he lost on-track though. I like the guy, but in a DAMS car that has to rate as a disappointing season overall. Especially considering his closing races in GP3 last year.

    6. I watched DTM for the first time this year. Had high expectations of Wehrlein. Wasn’t impressed – at all.

      1. @me4me Of all juniors in any F1 programme he is among those who don’t deserve a seat.

        1. You can’t really read into his performances much, @me4me and @xtwl. Ballast seems to dictate it, and a synthetic table on the Wikipedia page of the 2015 DTM says a lot. Wehrlein has indeed never had an absolutely stellar weekend, so he’s been on a consistent weight, allowing him to consistently score points while others (BMW most ridiculously) have yoyoed up and down the grid.

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