Ryan Briscoe, Christian Klien and Olivier Pla are the only remaining candidates that can claim the inaugural title of the Formula 3 Euro Series.

Only the Australian has the chance to wrap up the title before the season final during this weekend's meeting at Hockenheim in Germany. So his two rivals have their minds set on only one thing: closing up to the current leader of the series.

With over 30 drivers that have been entered for this renewed appearance at Hockenheim, the Formula 3 Euro Series shows a great level for its debut season and looks set for another highly exciting 2004 season. But before this, the battle for the prestigious inaugural championship title in the history of this new series has to be settled.

With seven victories and an advantage of 22 points, Ryan Briscoe is the outright favourite of this first year. The Australian took the lead in the series at the season opener with two wins at the Hockenheim circuit. It goes without saying that he likes this track and remains the man to beat in the forthcoming event.

Without getting lost in mathematics, when the Australian finishes ahead of his two direct opponents, he will be champion. In case of a tie between Briscoe and Klien, everything depends on the results of Pla. With Christian Klien in excellent form, the real revelation of the series and the best rookie, and Olivier Pla more determined than ever to score his first win, it won't be an easy job for the Toyota Formula 1 test driver.

After all, even though the attention is mainly on these three drivers, the level in the series is such that any of the other drivers could be playing a role in the outcome of the race and might run away with a race win. Markus Winkelhock, Alexandre Pr?mat, Fabio Carbone, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock and Robert Kubica have all won a race so far this season.

Talking about the rookies, there is also a three-way fight here with Christian Klien, Nico Rosberg and Alexandre Pr?mat. Everything is still possible between the Austrian, the Finn and the Frenchman. The Austrian, the sole leader in this category, could also claim the title this weekend. And France seems to be in a good position to win the first Nations' Cup, even though, mathematically, Australia, Austria and Germany could still turn this situation around.

A new arrival in the series is young Nicolas Armindo, who has joined the team of Serge Saulnier for the remaining four races. A graduate from the French Formula Renault championship, he is representing Portugal in the Nations' Cup alongside Alvaro Parente.



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