German driver Timo Glock won the final race of the 2003 Formula Three Euroseries, bringing to an end a season full of excitement, eight different winners and a total of 17 different competing nationalities.

On pole position for the second time this weekend, otherwise impressive Greek Alexandros Margaritis again missed his start, allowing Glock to take the lead, while he slotted into second place. Margaritis then had protect his position from inaugural champion Ryan Briscoe, while Robert Doornbos made an excellent start to eventually pass the Australian and settle in behind the leading duo in third place.

The first major turnaround took place on the second lap, when Briscoe was awarded a drive-through penalty for cutting a chicane. The Australian lost his fifth place, and after serving his penalty, only managed to climb back up to 14th position. On the same lap, local hero Nicolas Lapierre made a small mistake and lost six places.

The duel for third place in the championship was at its height, meanwhile, as Olivier Pla and Markus Winkelhock found themselves nose-to-tail. However, on lap 3, the
German, who had won the opening race of the weekend, made a mistake under braking, and lost contact with the Frenchman, allowing Pla to go on a cement his place in the overall standings.

Further back, another duel was also underway, but unfortunately did not last long either, as Fabio Carbone and Nico Rosberg tangled with one another under braking for the Adelaide Hairpin on lap six.

At the front, Glock was coming under increasing pressure from Doornbos' vivid orange car, the Dutchman having found a way past Margaritis to launch his attack on the leader. Try as he might, however, the Team Ghinzani driver could not crack the German's composure and the front two positions remained stable.

"This is the best possible way to finish the season," Glock admitted, "I made a good start, but the tyres took two or three laps to heat up. I was keeping an eye on Robert, who was catching me, but I was able to keep my lead."

"I started the season with a second place, and I've finished with another one, but this podium is really excellent for me," Doornbos said, before heading off to join the Menu Motorsport team for the flyaway Asian double-header next month, "Now I will be concentrating on the Macau and Korean races, where I hope to do as well."

Behind them, however, likely series runner-up Christian Klien was gaining ground, eventually taking third place from Margaritis on the 13th lap.

"It's very good to be on the podium for my final F3 race," Mucke Motorsport driver Klien said, his eye firmly on graduating to either F3000 or FNissan next season, "The car was quite delicate at the start of the race but, afterwards, it was perfect. I was able to climb up the field to take this podium position."

"The car was not as good as it was yesterday, and I had problems following the pace during this race," Margaritis lamented, "Compared to yesterday, it's a good result, but I will mainly remember my two pole positions when thinking back to this weekend."

From then on, the podium positions did not change, and all eyes were then on the all-French battle for sixth on the road as Pla tried vainly to repel the advances of a recovering Lapierre.

The ASM, thinking first and foremost of his third place in the championship, was not able to resist forever, and a superb overtaking manoeuvre at the Lycee corner by Lapierre elevated the young Signature Plus driver into the top six.

"I am quite disappointed because I could have done better," Lapierre said, "A driver overtook me by putting me onto the grass, and I lost a number of places. However, by the end of the race I was in a good fight with Olivier. I am disappointed for the team, as considering the work they had done, they could have hoped for a better result."

"I am pleased, because my objective for this race was to hang on to third place in the championship," a somewhat happier Pla countered, "I managed to limit the
damage today."

 

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