Opel-powered Ryan Briscoe may be the odds-on favourite to lift the inaugural F3 Euroseries title, but Mercedes' Alexandre Premat and Christian Klien are determined not to let the Australian have it easy.

ASM driver Pr?mat finished as runner-up in both rounds 13 and 14 at Austria's A1-Ring, chasing home Briscoe on both occasions.

Pr?mat and fellow Mercedes runner Bruno Spengler started second and third on the grid in the weekend's first race and, with overtaking at a premium, maintained their respective positions behind winner Briscoe until the chequered flag. Race two was a similar story, although Premat, who started from the outside of the front row for both races, lost a spot early on to Nico Rosberg. The intervention of the safety car - to clear up Andreas Zuber's massive accident - gave the Frenchman a chance to close up, however, and he retook the place early on lap six. From then on, it was a case of single file again, as Premat took his second runners-up spot of the weekend.

"I'm happy about my second places, and I thank everybody in the team for their efforts," he said afterwards, "I started well, but Ryan was just faster. On the first lap of the second race, I made a mistake and lost a place to Rosberg, but, on lap six, he ran wide at the first corner and I passed him back."

The seven Mercedes-powered drivers took ten out of 16 possible points finishes in Austria, with M?cke Motorsport's Klien twice coming home fifth to maintain his second position in the championship with six races to go. Briscoe leads with 89 points, Klien has 57.

"My starts were not good, but I'm satisfied to have improved in both races," the Austrian admitted, "I scored eight points during the weekend, so the championship is still open."

"It was impossible to beat Ryan Briscoe here, and we must congratulate him on two great performances," Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug confirmed, "Alexandre drove two clean races, however, and, behind him, there were a whole bunch of Mercedes-Benz powered Dallaras."

 

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