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Preview: Three-way Italian F3 fight wraps up at Monza

by Valentin Khorounzhiy

Photo: acisportitalia.it

Deja vu is strong with this one as Riccardo Agostini, Brandon Maisano and Eddie Cheever, Jr. go to Monza to determine the fate of two titles in one weekend…

The last four champions of the series might not have had much luck later on in their careers, but that did not diminish the importance of the championship significantly enough for the three highly-talented drivers who will attempt to clinch the title in the three remaining races.

A stellar weekend at Vallelunga has allowed Riccardo Agostini to jump into the lead of the main standings from third and establish a hefty lead over his closest rivals – Brandon Maisano and Eddie Cheever, Jr. However, while a lead of 11 points could be considered “hefty”, the championship is far from decided as both Maisano and Cheever surely have more than enough of a chance to snatch the title away from Agostini.

For Agostini, 21, it has been a stellar season so far as he has made the jump from Formula Abarth and is in contention for the title in his very first season. The Italian wasn’t much of a title favourite pre-season, but his consistent performances at Italian tracks and his staggering five wins have put him into a fantastic position before the last round. Part of his success could be down to the Mygale chassis he uses as opposed to the Dallara driven by the other frontrunners.

For 19-year-old Maisano, the season has been somewhat of a disappointment, as the Ferrari Driver Academy ace has failed to produce the dominance many expected in his second year in the category. Still, he has a lovely chance of remedying it, trailing Agostini by a mere 11 points.

Both, however, should be extremely wary of Cheever as the 19-year-old son of Formula One driver Edward “Eddie” Cheever is only two points behind Prema teammate Maisano. Another second year driver, Cheever has been very quick in the earlier rounds but lost some of his edge towards the end. Still, it is obvious he should be considered a threat.

Aside from the European Series title, the three races will also decide the champion of the Italian Series. Agostini leads those standings as well but Maisano is a tiny bit closer this time, only nine points behind. The other mathematical contender is, you’ve guessed it, Cheever, but he’s 28 points behind the leader.

As previously mentioned the weekend will consist of three races. 20 points will be awarded for victory in the two feature races, while it’s 13 points for the victor in the reverse grid sprint race. Overall, that’s 58 (53 + 5 bonus points for fastest laps and pole positions) points up for grabs.

The two qualifying sessions are scheduled to take place back-to-back on Friday at 13:50 local time. Race 1 will be run on Saturday at 14:15 local while Races 2 & 3 will take place on Sunday at 9:00 and 16:10 respectively. All three races should be streamed live at on the series’ official website. Stay tuned to @PaddockScout on Twitter for the latest updates.