Circuit Ricardo Tormo on the outskirts of Valencia is one of the most frequently used venues on the motor racing calendar, hosting everything from Formula 1 winter tests to an extensive in-season event programme featuring visits from some of the world's most prestigious championships. This weekend sees the DTM, and its support programme package led by Formula 3 Euro Series, take to the Spanish circuit - with Felix Rosenqvist aiming to once again battle it out at the front when the eighth and penultimate round of the season takes centre stage.
It is no coincidence that Circuit Ricardo Tormo, named after erstwhile Spanish Road Racing driver Ricardo Tormo Blaya, is such a popular retreat for the motorsport community. The circuit offers a good mixture of fast and slow corners, making it perfect for evaluating overall car or bike performance. Added to that is the weather, with the Spanish east coast providing ideal conditions for testing over the European winter months.
Felix, like many other drivers on the international scene, has already paid a number of visits to Valencia - although this weekend does mark his first-ever actual race at the circuit. The Valencia winter tests ahead of the start of the season gave Felix his maiden taste of a car from Mücke Motorsport, and the relationship got off to a promising start from the word "go" with Felix setting the second-fastest time on his first day behind the wheel.
"I enjoy driving at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, and although some criticise it for the lack of overtaking opportunities, it is actually one of my favourites from a pure driving point-of-view," Felix explains. "It has become a circuit which has meant quite a lot to me over the years; this is where I did my first-ever F3 test, and this is where I started off working with Mücke Motorsport. I also got to try a Formula 2 car here last year, so I do find my way around the track. The exact same thing is true for my rivals as well, though, so I don't really think circuit knowledge will be an advantage for me this weekend. We will still have to work just as hard as always if we want to challenge for this wins."
The latest round of the championship at Silverstone three weeks ago confirmed the sort of pace Felix has been able to showcase so far this season, when he was the only driver capable of challenging Spanish Prema Powerteam duo Roberto Merhi and Daniel Juncadella (who will both be racing on home turf this weekend) in qualifying and eventually ended up third on the grid for Race 1. A series of technical issues and first-lap collisions, however, meant that Felix was unable to translate his speed into a British podium. Mücke Motorsport - and Felix himself - will therefore be hoping to minimise the risk of a repeat in Spain, and to maximise every shot at a top line result should the opportunity present itself.
"When the season kicked off, we didn't really know where we were in terms of performance and I refused to set myself any results-based goals since this was my first year in the championship," Felix continues. "As the season has progressed, however, it has been clear for us to see that most of the time our pace has been as good as anyone's, which has also led me to alter my own ambitions. We have proven that we are capable of winning through our victory in the Masters of Formula 3, and I would like to make the top step of the Formula 3 Euro Series podium as well before the campaign comes to an end. It will be tough, but I am under no pressure at all and I feel ready for it."
Friday qualifying and all three races of the weekend will once again be covered in full through Felix Racing's LIVE commentary service at www.felixracing.se, where you will also be able to follow every other twist and turn of the Spanish action straight from the circuit.
Formula 3 Euro Series - Valencia
TIMETABLE (local time - GMT+02:00)
FP: 09.50-11.55 (60 min - 5 min pause - 60 min)
Calendar and championship points structure
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The allocation of starting grid positions:
Race 1: Second-fastest lap from qualifying.
Race 2: Based on Race 1 results. Top eight drivers reversed for Race 2 grid.
Race 3: Outright fastest lap from qualifying.