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Euro: Chaotic conclusion to '08 campaign
1 January 1901
Jules Bianchi secured the final win of the 2008 F3 Euroseries season at Hockenheim, although the race itself turned out to be something of a non-affair after three large accidents meant hardly any racing laps before the event was red-flagged.
Already shortened to 21 laps before it even started, the race was soon behind the Safety Car after Christian Vietoris and Stefano Coletti touched wheels on the run to turn one and spun off to the outside of the circuit.
That happened after Koudai Tsukakoshi was slow away from the line and pulled across to dry and defend his line, squeezing the cars outside him into a gap that wasn't big enough for them to share.
Henkie Waldschmidt and Daniel Campos-Hull also both retired after coming together at turn one, while Frederic Vervisch was forced out at turn two after hitting Richard Philippe, who was able to continue.
With the Safety Car having barely left the circuit, there was another incident – this time after James Jakes clipped the rear of Miki Maki on to the run to the hairpin.
Jakes shot off to the inside of the circuit and slammed into the concrete wall before coming back across the track as the cars ahead turned into the right-hander – somehow managing to avoid collecting anyone before coming to rest on the outside of the turn.
While Jakes was removed from the car and taken off to the medical centre, the race went back under caution but once again, the restart was to be a short-lived affair.
As the field attempted to get some kind of race underway, Stephane Richelmi lost control in spectacular fashion at turn one and slammed head on into the tyre wall – destroying his Barazi-Epsilon entered car and leading to the deployment of the Safety Car for a third time.
With Richelmi requiring medical assistance and the tyre barrier also needed plenty of work, the race was brought to a finish with the red-flags being thrown after only ten laps – meaning full points won't be awarded for the final race of the year.
For the record, Bianchi was the winner ahead of Tsukakoshi and 2008 champion Nico Hulkenberg: "It was a strange race," Bianchi admitted, "but I am very happy with this win, because I am now third in the points' standings as a rookie. Thanks to my team ART Grand Prix. They have done a tremendous job and allowed me to score all the good results I got this year."
"Unfortunately, the race was very short and it was stopped, so I couldn't make any attempts to overtake," added Tsukakoshi. "Second place is a good way to round off my season though, as I won't race at Macau."
Further down the order meanwhile Jean-Karl Vernay, van der Zande and Edoardo Mortaro rounded out the top six, the latter doing enough to claim the runners-up spot in the championship standings.
Mucke Motorsport's Erik Janis came in seventh - and took the trophy for the best rookie of the year - with Robert Wickens, Mika Maki and Yann Clairay eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
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