British driver Jake Dennis (Carlin, 1:36s808) came out on top at the end of the first encounter of the FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship after the summer break. On the opening day of the official mid-season test, the rookie driver was 0s027 seconds faster than Lucas Auer (Mücke Motorsport, 1:36s835). Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:36s874) and Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport, 1:36s007) were classified third and fourth at the 4.909 kilometres long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola.
Jake Dennis only set his fastest lap time in the final minute of the test day and was very happy afterwards: “Today, we ran through our program and we found some things that worked well, but others that didn’t. Eventually, I managed to be in front with fresh tyres. The lap certainly wasn’t perfect, but I am happy with the day”. Just like Dennis, Lucas Auer also managed to move ahead of Max Verstappen in the closing stages. The Dutchman, who participated in his first-ever free practice session in Formula 1 last Friday, didn’t show any problems in getting used to his Fórmula 3 car again.“Somehow, getting from a faster into a slower car is easier,” the 17-year-old commented.
Behind the fastest three young drivers on the opening day of testing, Felix Rosenqvist, points’ leader Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam, 1:37s093), Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:37s316) and Jordan King (Carlin, 1:37s351) followed in fourth to seventh place. The Brit had to conclude his test day early following an accident.“The rear of the car slid out on me and I couldn’t manage to get the car in control. It was just a small mistake, but it left me sidelined for the final two hours”.
Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:37s450), Nick Cassidy (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 1:37s498) and Felix Serralles (Team West-Tec F3, 1:37s504) rounded out the top ten. “I am delighted to be back in the FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship,” New Zealander Cassidy said. At Imola and Hockenheim, he will be racing for ThreeBond with T-Sport.“Last year, I took part in two events and coming back to race in this series has always been my goal. Now, I hope to improve steadily and to score some good results”.
At the end of the day, Cassidy was the fastest of the six drivers who are competing in their first season in the FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship this year. William Buller (Signature, 1:37s704) was classified 13th on the comeback of both himself and his Signature team and was also happy. “It took a while for me to get used to the Fórmula 3 car again. After that, things went well and the team did a good job, too. We aren’t that far off the pace, but we still have some work to do to get further up to the front.” Only two places behind Buller, Marvin Kirchhofer (Motopark, 1:37s750) ended up 15th on his first outing in the FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship. The German drove the car of the Motopark team that took part in an official FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship session for the first time this year.
Photos: FIA F3 Euro Series