The German and Italian F3 championships were both in action at the weekend, the former supporting the FIA GTs at Oschersleben and the latter at Mugello.
Laurens Vanthoor maintained his strong start to the ATS Formel 3 Cup with a near perfect weekend at the eastern German circuit, replicating Bas Leinders' double victory for van Amersfoort Racing at the same venue eleven years ago. Only pole position for the opening race eluded the Belgian, who now has his sights set on emulating Leinders' title success.
Having been fastest during free practice on Friday, Vanthoor followed up an outside front row performance in first qualifying with a fourth pole of the season in the second, having appeared easily the fastest man on track.
“In all honesty, it was a difficult assignment," he insisted, "Never before have I experienced so many problems due to slower competitors - and, on top of that, there were numerous yellow flags and a fair amount of dirt on the track. I wasn't able to get the most out of my tyres at their peak and missed out on [race one] pole by a hair's breadth.
"The second session wasn't perfect either, but my fastest lap was good enough for the pole. We still need to carry out some fine-tuning on the car before the races, but I'm fully determined to grab both victories here.”
the van Amersfoort driver duly lived up to his promise, winning the first race of the weekend by ten seconds, having led all the way from second on the grid on Saturday evening. Race two, on Sunday, proved to be a carbon copy, with the Belgian again leading from start to finish. Markus Pommer and Nico Monien completed the first race podium, with Monien and Rafael Suzuki doing likewise second time around.
"I took a great start and immediately built up a lead [in race one]," Vanthoor commented, "I completed several laps at qualifying pace, after which I steadied the rhythm to save my tyres. [In race two], it was more difficult on a damp track because you mustn't be taken by surprise under these conditions, but also take care that you don't wear out your front tyres, because this is one the characteristics of this track. I'm absolutely delighted with the weekend, everyone worked truly hard and I've now extended my lead in the championship, allowing me to start driving strategically."
Vanthoor currently holds a 26-point advantage over van Amersfoort team-mate Stef Dusseldorp, with Rahel Frey a further nine points adrift, after neither made the podium at the weekend. Sixth and seventh, respectively, in race one was the best either could manage as their rival, fresh from an F3 Masters outing with Carlin Motorsport, took a firm grip on the series.
The Mugello double-header produced wins for Daniel Zampieri and Sergio Campana, although the Lucidi Motors pilot should have claimed both victories after starting from pole.