The champioship leaders of the German junior single-seaters series continued to increase their respective leads while over at Assen, Steijn Schothorst dominated the NEC field…
Formula Renault 2.0 NEC
Schothorst dominates Assen weekend as Parry makes another step towards the title
Following in the footsteps of Oscar Tunjo, who secured double pole and a win for Josef Kaufmann Racing in the previous round of the championship, Steijn Schothorst had a tough ask of matching the Colombian’s performance ahead of the Assen outing. However, the Dutchman was up to the job and spent most of the weekend in a league of his own, bagging two wins for the team.
Truth be told Schothorst did have a rather tough time securing topping qualifying, as he topped the other group’s best time in the very closing stages of his run. However, when it came to the races themselves, it never seemed like he had much in the way of competition. He dominated race one and similarly stormed away from the field in race two, picking up 60 points on his guest appearance and adding his thid and fourth victories in the series to his CV.
A good weekend for Josef Kaufmann Racing was made even better by their Norwegian protege Dennis Olsen, who had his best weekend in Formula Renault racing. In qualifying, he emerged on top in a rather tough group, securing a front row spot. He then impressively spent both races holding off the two most highly-rated regulars of the series and both times wound up dissapointing at least one of them as he secured two podium finishes.
The duo in question – Fortec’s championship leader Matt Parry and his teammate/fellow Intersteps graduate Jack Aitken – were both?clearly on good form, despite missing out on topping their respective groups in qualifying. The inability to beat the Josef Kaufmann duo for grid position was, perhaps, the reason why they didn’t wind up challenging for the victories, as both Aitken and Parry ended up bogged down behind Olsen and fighting each other, while Schothorst enjoyed clean air. In race one, Aitken managed to get the jump on his teammate and Olsen, securing second, while Parry only took fourth. The roles reversed in race two – Parry made it to second, Aitken had to settle for fourth. In the end, both of them should be satisfied – for Jack, it was a strong, confident showing, while for Matt, it was another calm and collected step on the way to the title which now seems all but a formality.
Next round: Most, 31 August – 1 September
Brilliant Kirchhofer continues title march at Nurburgring
In weekend relatively light on European single-seater racing, perhaps no series has produced quite as good of a show as German F3 with its round at Nurburgring. While, just like the season as a whole, it was mostly a Lotus walkover, the three top drivers from the Oschersleben-based team continued to put on a marvellous spectacle.
Championship leader Marvin Kirchhofer missed out on topping qualifying for only the second time in the season, which resulted in a rather quiet, by his standards, race one where he finished second. In the reverse-grid outing, he didn’t have the best of starts, letting his teammates through, but, as the German seemed to have the pace on the entire field, he quickly made up the places and soon was mixing it at the top. He came out on top in the fight against his Motopark colleagues, but? simply ran out of laps to mount a challenge for the win, as he settled for another second place. In race three, he was the poleman and, despite a rocky start and some issues with traffic that wound up very nearly costing him the lead, converted said pole into his eighth victory of the year. Marvin now has a lead of 103 points in the standings and, with three rounds to go, it’s very hard to imagine him losing out on the title.
Despite still failing to score that elusive first win, Artem Markelov produced another confident outing, allowing himself to keep second in the standings. In race one, he generally didn’t seem on pace with the leading duo, having to settle for second place. He fared well in the second race, coming very close to taking the lead, but ultimately losing not only the victory, but second place as well due to a charging Kirchhofer. He was undoubtedly Marvin’s biggest threat in race three and came rather close to stealing the lead away, but ultimately was second yet again – making it nine times he finished in the position in the current German F3 season.
For the third man in Motopark’s lineup, it was a rather inconsistent weekend. Emil Bernstorff fared very well over qualifying and race one, converting pole into a controlled victory to take second in the standings away from Markelov. However, quiet-ish races two and three followed – in the second outing, he simply couldn’t navigate the field as quickly as his teammates, having to stay content with fourth place. In race three, he was looking to round out the podium, but a drive through penalty for speeding under yellows demoted him into fourth and, overall, he remains in third in the standings.
The Performance Racing duo have no doubt left Nurburgring with two totally different outlooks on the weekend. For John Bryant-Meisner, it was one to forget – after a good qualifying, the first two races wound up being rather anonymous for him, while in race three he took an early lead via a jump start, which subsequently yielded a drive through. Having served it, the Swede went out and spun a Trophy class car, breaking his own vehicle in the process. Thomas Jager, meanwhile, should be over the moon, as he did an impeccable job in the reverse-grid race two to hang on to his first victory in German F3, despite massive pressure from the Lotus cars. Finally, another driver from the “best of the rest” category – Gustavo Menezes – had a good run that culminated in his fifth podium in the series in race three.
In the Trophy class, the fight appeared rather evenly matched, which resulted in three different winners. Thomas Amweg collected the prize in race one, while the GU-Racing duo of Sebastian Balthasar and Freddy Killensberger took victories in races two and three.
Next round: Lausitzring, 31 August – 1 September
ADAC Formel Masters
Picariello secures another double victory at Nurburgring
Those who, for intrigue’s sake, wished that championship leader Alessio Picariello‘s early season fluke were undeniably disappointed with round four of the series at Nurburgring as the Belgian put in his most impressive performance of the year, further increasing his championship lead. Having narrowly missed out on pole in qualifying, Picariello then made the most out of his front row start in race one and, into the first turn, was already leading the race. From that point on, the Mucke driver was on cruise control to the very checkered flag.
Race two was more of the same – this time, Picariello did not manage to snach the lead away off the grid, but did so a lap later, upon which the race was as good as over. His two victories make it so that he’s won seven of the eight feature races this season so far. He could’ve very well made it three for three at Nurburgring, but the Belgian simply ran out of time in the safety car affected sprint race, only succeeding to fight his way up to third. At the season halfway point, he leads his nearest rival by 78 points – with only 60 available at each given race weekend.
While Picariello continued to make a run for it in the standings, the fight for second got more competitive. Jason Kremer and Hendrik Grapp, who prior to Nurburgring occupied second and third in the standings respectively, both had a rather bad time, only scoring in one of the three races – Kremer’s weekend compromised by a drive through in race two, while Grapp’s – by two incidents that he was involved in.
At the same time, Nicolas Beer put in a great performance over the weekend. First, he broke up a Mucke 1-2 in race one, and while race two turned out a bit botched, a rather lowly finished allowed him to take reverse-grid pole in race three. He withstood pressure both at the start and during the restart and came out a maiden winner – putting himself into third in the standings, just one point behind second.
The aforementioned second place in the championship now belongs to its, perhaps, most impressive rookie – Maximilian Gunther. The 16-year-old first beat his Mucke teammate Picariello in qualifying, taking double pole. He didn’t manage to hold on to the lead in the races, fading under pressure from his much more experienced colleagues, but still managed to place firmly on the podium in both. Finally, despite the rather small amounts of green flag running in race three, Gunther put in some very pretty moves to end up in fourth, recording his best weekend overall to date.
Gunther’s fellow Formula BMW Talent Cup graduates also shined. Ralph Boschung was impeccable for Team Kug, being very much on-pace with the leaders all weekend and fighting for podium spots in all three races, which saw him take his first feature race top three. Marvin Dienst didn’t quite have that kind of pace, but made up for it with great wheel-to-wheel skills – he will hold the distinction as the only man who managed to keep Picariello at bay this weekend as he held off the Belgian during the last few laps of the reverse-grid race to take second.
Next round: Spielberg, 10-11 August
UK Formula Ford
Cammish secures continues perfect streak at Snetterton
Dan Cammish is still yet to lose a race in this year’s Formula Ford championship and, at Snetterton, he was unstoppable yet again, picking up another three victories and making yet another step towards the series title.
Despite still looking for his first win in the series, Briton Harrison Scott continues to do his best to create a semblance of intrigue in the championship. At Snetterton, Scott picked up three podiums and only lost 14 points to Cammish, now standing as the best contender for second place in the championship.
Jayde Kruger and Sam Brabham also added to their podium tallies.
Next round: Knockhill, 24-25 August
Formula Renault 1.6 NEC
Standings leaders Rump and Geerts win again
The leading duo of the FR1.6 NEC series continued to be class of the field in round two of the championship at Assen – Martin Rump and Roy Geerts both added to their win tally.
Geerts took pole for race one but didn’t have the pace to hold the Estonian back, eventually settling for second as Rump took win two, while Lukas Sundahl picked up his first podium in the series. In race two, however, Geerts was the quickest man of the field, despite not starting on the front row, and outpaced both Rump and challenger Janneau Esmeijer to take the race win, with Esmeijer second and championship leader Rump in third.
Next round: Spa-Francorchamps, 7-8 September
PaddockScout Driver of the Weekend
There was little to choose between Picariello and Schothorst this weekend, but in the end, the third race sealed it for the Belgian. He was unstoppable in the two feature races and, even in the reverse-grid outing, Picariello has managed to do his best. The Mucke driver has shown both race craft and raw pace and it looks that there isn’t anyone who can challenge him for the title this year.