When EuroSpeedway Lausitz - or Lausitzring, as the circuit was initially named - opened its gates back in the year 2000, visions were big in former East Germany. The new venue outside of Klettwitz south of Berlin would lay the foundations for a short but serious attempt to bring the successful American car racing concept to Europe, and - armed with a 3.2 km triangular-shaped oval circuit - organisers managed to attract the popular CART championship for two races in the beginning of the new Millennium. A number of severe accidents, however, which included the tragic death of former F1 driver Michele Alboreto in April 2001 and his countryman Alessandro Zanardi’s horrific crash later the same year, didn’t help the project prosper and today - almost exactly ten years after its opening - racing is centred around the more traditional infield section of the circuit. This weekend sees the ATS Formula 3 Cup championship take to the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, and Felix Rosenqvist arrives just one week on from his second win of the season.
Following Felix’s achievements at Assen a few days ago, where he won the second race of the weekend from Pole Position after some chaotic 30 minutes of rain, pit stops and late engine woes, the Performance Racing driver has moved to within real striking distance of third overall in the championship standings. Kevin Magnussen (Motopark Academy) currently holds third on 61 points, but Felix shadows the Dane in fifth with 57 and is the most successful of all drivers over the last three events. Between the Scandinavian duo, Van Amersfoort Racing’s Stef Dusseldorp - who won the first race at his home venue last weekend but later collided with championship leader Tom Dillmann (HS Technik) in Race 2 - holds fourth.
“It’s great to have taken another victory at Assen,” Felix said following his win. ”I had actually never driven in the wet during an F3 race weekend before today, but I’ve always enjoyed changeable conditions and felt that we could be in for something good when it began to drizzle before the start. I’ve definitely learnt a lot this weekend and I’m very pleased with this victory.”
Daniel Abt, on the other hand, had a torrid time in the Netherlands. The German, currently second in the championship on 73 points, was unable to score at all at Assen after colliding in Race 1 and spinning out when under pressure from Felix on a drying circuit in Race 2. Competition at the sharp end of the ATS Formula 3 Cup field has become tougher and tougher over the previous rounds, and it’s worth noting that of the top five drivers overall, three - Abt, Magnussen and Felix - are rookies in Formula 3 this year.
Felix’s Performance Racing team-mate Alon Day, like Abt, didn’t have the best of times at Assen. Having crashed with Willi Steindl in the first race of the weekend, the Israeli was put back to 20th and last on the grid for Race 2. After a good drive through the field, though, Day eventually managed to grab two points when he crossed the finish line in seventh.
For Motopark Academy, Assen represented a well-needed improvement in form - even though the Oschersleben-based squad mainly capitalised on the misfortune of others. Magnussen and Jimmy Eriksson both got to visit the podium in Race 1 (Eriksson for the first time this year) after Felix stalled on the grid and had to fight his way back to sixth from 16th at the end of lap one, while Austrian Rene Binder finished the second race in third place. The question, however, is whether Motopark Academy can keep their momentum going into this weekend?
In testing earlier this year, all ATS Formula 3 Cup teams and drivers got the chance to familiarise (or re-familiarise) themselves with EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Felix instantly proved that he didn’t have any troubles finding his way around what is an entirely new circuit for him by going quickest, but count on just as close racing as ever as the most hectic part of the championship reaches its next phase. Like always, you can follow everything that happens during the weekend through Felix Racing’s LIVE commentary service from qualifying and the races at www.felixracing.se.
ATS Formula 3 Cup - EuroSpeedway Lausitz