DRIVER NEWS: Engel dominates to take first and second at Monza
DRIVER NEWS: Maro Engel dominated proceedings at the Monza round of the 2007 British F3 championship this weekend to take victory in race one and second place in race two. The 21 year-old German set the pace from the first official practice session and took pole for both races.
In a flawless first race, the Mercedes-backed driver withstood extreme pressure to maintain his lead and open up a sufficient gap to control the race. Engel led home the second Carlin 1-2-3 of the season, ahead of team mates Sam Bird and Alberto Valerio.
After a fantastic first race, expectations were high for race two at Monza. Engel led away from the line, but after team mate Mario Moraes pitted from second, soon came under pressure from championship leader Marko Asmer. An intense battle followed, with the lead changing nearly every lap. In an aggressive maneuver by Asmer, Engel was forced onto the grass on the last lap and crossed the line second.
Speaking about his weekend Engel commented, “It was a really great weekend. The car felt good from free practice, not much needed changing before qualifying. We knew we had good pace going into the first qualifying session, and I got a tow down the straight which clinched pole. To repeat that result in second qualifying was the icing on the cake. Everything worked beautifully. The hard work of the mechanics and engineers really paid off.
“Pole doesn’t necessarily translate to a race win at Monza as there are so many opportunities to overtake. However, in the first race, the Carlin cars were clearly the quickest cars out there, and after a few close laps, I was able to build up enough of a gap to control the race and take my first victory since Oulton Park. “The second race was equally competitive; I was leading from my team mate Mario and Marko Asmer in third. After Mario had to pit to take a drive through penalty Asmer closed up on me and with every lap he was able to get a tow closer to me. He managed to pass me, but I knew it was still close and that it was still his or my race, depending on who entered the last corner first. Throughout the rest of the race, he was very aggressive and I believe overstepped the line, he weaved to stop me getting past and pushed me onto the grass at the first corner a couple of times.
“Generally it was a good race, and I know that I raced well and cleanly to finish second. It was a fantastic weekend and the championship points are a bonus. Standing on the podium at Monza is an amazing experience. To stand up there with the Carlin boys in the pit lane below was fantastic, they really deserved the great results this weekend.”
After ten rounds, Engel now stands third in the drivers’ championship. The F3 circus will return to the UK for rounds 11 and 12 in three weeks time at Brands Hatch.