6 July 2009
Open and German F3 championship round-up.
While life carried on as normal in the ATS German Formel 3 Cup at the Lausitzring, the inaugural European F3 Open championship welcomed two new winners to the fold as it ventured to future British GP venue Donington Park.
The Donington event proved to be a successful homecoming for Team West-Tec, as the British team took feature race victory in both the overall and Copa Class competitions, while Jonathan Legris looked set to repeat his Spa win only to be denied by a drive-thru' penalty for a starting grid infringement.
West-Tec stalwart Thor-Christian Ebbesvik lined up on pole for the first of the weekend's two races, having set two laps faster than anybody else to secure the first point of the meeting, and then made a stunning start to head Celso Miguez into Redgate. Although the experienced Spaniard tried everything he could, he was never able to challenge the Norwegian, who dominated from start to finish to record his third win in the category.
Bruno Méndez and Kevin Ceccon both had solitary races in third and fourth, leaving the main attraction to be the fight for fifth between Legris, Stefano Bizzarri and Adrian Campos Jr. The British driver, however, was able to defend himself from the constant attacks of his two rivals, before Campos' threat ended in a spin on lap 12, which cost the Spaniard several positions. Callum Macleod again claimed Copa honours to strengthen his hold on the points race.
A heavy shower, which started as the cars reached the grid for race two, altered everyone's plans but, in the adverse conditions, Legris appeared set to repeat his success from Spa. However, having snatched the lead from Bizzarri on the opening lap, the Briton - who had started on the front row courtesy of the reversed top six from race one - was hit by a drive-thru' penalty after it was adjudged that his team had been working on his car on the grid beyond the cut-off time.
The punishment dropped Legris - a former West-Tec driver - back to fourth place, but some feisty driving saw him recover to second position in the waning laps, overtaking both Ebbesvik and, in a risky move, Míguez, to chase Bizzarri to the line. The result was enough to confirm Legris in third place overall, behind co-leaders Miguez and Mendez, after the former took advantage of the latter's poor race two performance to tie him at the head of the championship.
Miguez completed the podium in race two, ahead of Augusto Scalbi, Campos Jr and the hapless Ebbesvik, who had been running second - from sixth - until the closing stages.
"We have been working really hard to develop our car recently, and so I was delighted to get such a great result on Saturday," Ebbesvik commented, "Sunday should have been great too, but I was fortunate to finish at all after what happened! We have made a lot of progress this weekend though, and recovered some momentum in the championship which will be great for the second half of the season."
Macleod's run of Copa Class victories was ended by a locked-up Ceccon, who removed the Briton from contention, allowing Jose Luis Abadin to take the champagne.
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