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Euro: Vernay scores last gasp victory
25 October 2009
Jean-Karl Vernay will finish the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries season as the best placed Volkswagen driver after winning an exciting final race of the year at Hockenheim.
A wet-to-dry race decided by tyre strategy, Vernay's victory came despite a mid-race pit-stop to change from wet to slick rubber, the Frenchman catching and passing Christopher Zanella on the final lap to secure his second career Euroseries win.
With positions changing constantly through the race, Roberto Merhi and Vallteri Bottas shared the lead at one stage, but began to fade as the track began to dry. Meanwhile, Vernay had opted to change tyres early, with several drivers losing out by leaving their stops too late.
He was also helped by a collision for Tiagp Geronimi, Alexander Sims and Renger van der Zande towards the latter stages of the race, promoting him to second behind Zanella as they entered the final lap.
However, with the Motopark Academy driver beginning to fade, a charging Vernay simply drove around him to deny the German driver his first Euroseries win.
“The race was really crazy,” Vernay, who won his first Euroseries race at Hockenheim earlier this season, said. “I got slicks with 14 laps to go and was well able to move up to the front. I am happy that I still ended up fifth in the points' standings with this victory because that was my goal for the weekend.”
With only eleven drivers finishing on the lead lap, Mirko Bortolotti claimed a podium finish for Carlin Motorsport on his maiden Euroseries outing, ahead of Marco Wittmann, who had started on the front row, Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez. New champion Jules Bianchi finished just outside the points in seventh.
Vernay's win moves him up to fifth in the standings, behind Bianchi, Christian Vietoris – who was away on GP2 duties this weekend -, Bottas and Sims.
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