DRIVER NEWS: Maro Engel endured another disappointing event in British F3 this weekend, at the third round in Bucharest. Racing on the brand new street circuit in the Romanian capital, 21 year old Engel had to contend with numerous red flags, safety cars and crashes on his way to a fifth place in race one. Engel was in second place in race two, when an overtaking maneuver went wrong, ending his race.
In the first qualifying session on the new circuit, four red flags made it difficult to put in a clear lap. Engel was on his best lap of the session when the fourth and final red flag came out, bringing the session to a premature end. With no further opportunities to better his position, Engel had to be satisfied with a sixth placed grid slot. Race one was particularly eventful and started under the safety car due to difficult track conditions. With numerous safety car periods throughout the race Engel was left with just a small number of racing laps to improve his position. Managing to avoid the various clashes on track, Engel crossed the line fifth.
Qualifying for race two took place on a wet circuit, with the track surface drying out as the session progressed. Engel was one of four drivers battling for the top spot and as the track dried, it was clear that the last person to cross the line would claim pole. Putting in a stunning lap just seconds from the end, Engel took provisional pole, only to be relegated to fourth as three drivers crossed the line after him.
Race two was once again started behind the safety car, depriving Engel the opportunity to make up positions in a race start. When racing got underway, Engel put pressure on third placed man Mustonen, but was unable to make the move stick. As team mate Alberto Valerio crashed out with Stephen Jelley, Engel found himself battling for first place. Engel made a second attempt to pass Mustonen, taking the inside line after a good exit from turn one. Mustonen responded by blocking and after some dicing, Engel found himself between the wall and his rival’s car with no where to go. The two cars consequently locked wheels and skidded off track, ending the young German’s chance of victory.
Speaking about his weekend, Engel said “I’m very disappointed obviously. We could have taken a race win today, but unfortunately that was taken away from us. I saw an opportunity to get past Mustonen, but he decided to block me, even though I had no where to go. I don’t think it was a very clever move, and it was obviously going to end in disaster. We’ve had the pace all weekend, and after solid points in race one yesterday, we were looking good for a race win today. Now I have to concentrate on preparing for Snetterton, where we’ve had some very good tests recently. We’re still in the early stages of the season so it’s not over yet.”