Last-lap crash means F3 title fight goes to the wire

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Last weekend set up final-round title-deciders in European Formula Three, Japanese Super Formula, the DTM and the Formula Renault Eurocup.

Meanwhile in Germany’s TCR series Jasmin Preisig survived a huge crash at the Hockenheimring. Catch up on last weekend’s highlights below.

European Formula Three

Races 25-27: Red Bull Ring

Lando Norris was poised to clinch the European Formula Three title with three races to spare as the final lap began at the Red Bull Ring. But a mis-judged overtaking move by Ralf Aron (below) punted the Carlin driver into a gravel trap and put the champagne on ice until the season finale.

However Maximilian Gunther failed to capitalise on a rare win-less weekend for the championship leader. The Prema driver can only take the title if he wins all three races at the Hockenheimring and Norris scores less than three points.

The McLaren junior fell into Aron’s clutches after ripping off a front wing end plate while trying to pass Joel Eriksson for the lead. The latter went on to take his second consecutive win from pole position. Norris had followed him home in race two.

All three races at the Red Bull Ring were won from pole position. Callum Ilott did the honours in race one while Eriksson deprived Gunther with a gutsy move around the outside at turn one.

Japanese Super Formula

Race 6: Sugo

Yuhi Sekiguchi won despite a late onslaught from on-form Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly. Sekiguchi hit the front after pole sitter Nick Cassidy almost stalled. Gasly followed him through into second followed by Andre Lotterer and Kazuki Nakajima.

Gasly was unable to stay close enough to Sekiguchi to move ahead through the pit stops, despite staying out 15 laps longer than his rival. Gasly unleashed a string of personal best times in the closing stages, bringing him within a second with three laps remaining. The pair crossed the line separated by just 0.243 seconds at the chequered flag.

Gaslys third top-two in three races leaves him just half a point behind championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura. The title will be decided in a double-header weekend at Suzuka next month.

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters

Races 15-16: Red Bull Ring

After the DTM’s sudden decision to scrap success ballast, Audi swept the podium at both races in Austria. Points leader Mattias Ekstrom won the first despite falling behind Jamie Green in the pit stops. Ekstrom had saved his DRS uses and a late dive saw him take the victory ahead of the pole man. Nico Muller completed the podium.

Audi repeated the feat in race two as Rene Rast took his third win of the season ahead of Mike Rockenfeller and Muller. Jamie Green – who had started on pole once again – led the race from the off but was cruelly denied less than two minutes before the end by a gearbox problem. Auer’s slim championship hopes took a further blow when he was knocked out of contention by Bruno Spengler. The title is likely to go to Ekstrom or Rast at the Hockenheimring.

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Races 18-20: Spa-Francorchamps

The Europcup’s triple-header weekend at Spa-Francorchamps got off to a farcical start. Saturday morning fog meant race one consisted of four laps behind the Safety Car and no green flag running, despite which half points were awarded.

That was good news for pole sitter and championship leader Sacha Fenestraz who extended his advantage at the head of the standings. But it meant frustration for title rival Robert Shwartzman who started alongside him but was unable to challenge. The R-ace GP driver’s title hopes ended in race three following a collision with Richard Verschoor.

Gabriel Aubry out-dragged Fenestraz on the run to Les Combes to take the lead and the victory in race two. The Safety Car was deployed following a heavy crash for Gilles Magnus at Raidillon but Aubry maintained his advatnage despite fierce pressure from Fenestraz, who later lost second to Max Defourny.

Will Palmer followed Fenestraz home in race three and is now the only driver who can keep the Josef Kaufmann Racing man from clinching the title at the Circuit de Catalunya next month. Palmer has a deficit of 52.5 points with 75 available in Spain.


Race 28: New Hampshire

Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jnr monopolised the lead of the race at New Hampshire but it was the pole sitter Busch who claimed victory. The result leaves Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne in need of strong finishes at the next round in Dover in order to avoid being knocked out of championship contention.


Race 11: Laguna Seca

Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande shared victory at Laguna Seca. Van der Zande clinched the win by lunging past the long-time race-leading Whelen Cadillac of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran with three laps to go.

Video not available yet.

Guest series: TCR Germany

TCR Germany held their season finale at the Hockenheimring with two races. Race one (above) was won by Hari Proczyk, his first of the season after electing to switch to the Opel Astra for the final round. Meanwhile Josh Files clinched his second TCR Germany title and his third in TCR competition with tenth place. Files capped his title win with victory in the second race ahead of Max Hofer and Niels Langeveld.

However, the biggest moment of the weekend was arguably an accident involving Jasmin Preisig and Jaap van Lagen, in which the former was pitched into the barriers, spun and struck another battier head on. It took 15 minutes to extract Preisig who was then airlifted to hospital for further checks. After an overnight stay in the hospital, she returned to the circuit relatively unscathed, albeit only as a spectator.

Also last weekend

Marc Marquez opened up a 16 point championship lead on closest rival Andrea Dovizioso with victory at Aragon while the latter could only manage seventh. Jorge Lorenzo led the majority of the race but was deposed late on by both Honda riders, with Dani Pedrosa flying through the field in the final laps to claim second. Impressively Valentino Rossi finished fifth having started third, despite breaking his leg just 23 days earlier.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend’s racing

Formula One heads to Malaysia next weekend and the following series are also in action:

  • British Touring Car Championship races 28-30: Brands Hatch
  • Euroformula Open races 11-12: Monza
  • NASCAR Cup race 29: Dover
  • World Rallycross Championship race 11: Germany

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@mathers) for contributing to this article.

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11 comments on “Last-lap crash means F3 title fight goes to the wire”

  1. Why do series do that thing where they run a “full” race under SC (albeit shortened) and then award points for it?

    Is it not more sensible to just scrub the result from the records?

    1. It is ridiculous. Of course it’s not confined to junior series – it happened in the WEC at Fuji in 2013. And there’s nothing to stop it happening in F1.

  2. Gasly’s performance is starting to become really impressive

    1. @siegfreyco
      Well, best rookie is a good feat, best Honda is a good feat. Putting both together, he’s fighting for the title, as a rookie, with a Honda. That’s really impressive indeed.

      He might have arguably had a few ‘slow’ years which people held against him (some maybe still do), but the past 4.5 years he’s been FR2.0 champ, FR3.5 runner-up, GP2 champ and title contender in Super Formula. Surely that should be good enough to finally be rewarded with that STR seat.

      1. @mattds Even more impressive is the fact that the next Honda driver is 9th in the championship

  3. One correction is that Renger van der Zande and Goossens were driving a Ligier not a Riley/Multimatic car. The Riley is so slow compared to the other three LMP2 cars that Visit Florida switch to a Ligier a couple of races ago, and the FIA/ACO and IMSA is going to let Multimatic re-homologate the car this offseason after making improvements to it.

  4. That 3rd race in the F3 was insane… From the first 2 laps between Eriksson and Norris, right to the end. Brilliant to watch.

  5. Is there any F1fanatic like blog for motogp enthusiasts?

    1. @royalz I don’t if putting links to other sites is allowed here or not, but probably my go to web site for MotoGP and motorcycle racing in general is MotoMatters run by David Emmett. He doesn’t post stories as often as F1 Fanatic does, but he does attend pretty much every MotoGP race, and there is an associated podcast that has new episodes fairly regularly.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. I love motor racing – I mean if it has an engine and wheels (no matter how many) I will watch it. I have seen lawnmower racing and even in the past seen a bar-stool race – yes really!!!

    So I watched the DTM series this weekend and was moved to turn it off. I normally give racing the benefit of the doubt so I tuned in again on Sunday – nope – it has lost the variety, and the competition that a series needs to carry on with any sense of competition. I don’t see the point any more and I’m not sure if it is even going to be viable next season as a series at all. I hate saying this about any series because as I said – I love motor sport, but I’m sorry . . . DTM . . . RIP

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