Austrian Walter Grubmuller claimed his first British Formula 3 victory by leading from lights to flag in a frenetic race two at Hockenheim today.
All drivers started the race with slicks on a damp, but drying circuit, and those starting in the even grid positions off-line all struggled to get away properly at the lights.
Grubmuller (Hitech) led away, with yesterday's winner Marcus Ericsson (Double R) vaulting up to second from fifth on the grid.
The Swede felt he had the pace to win the race, but failed to adapt fast enough to the drying track and fell behind Grubmuller's teammate Renger van der Zande on lap six. Further troubles dropped him to as low as seventh, but he recovered to a respectable fourth.
Once into second, van der Zande drove a defensive race to suppress the rest and allow Grubmuller to lead the field home at a fairly comfortable distance.
The Dutchman completed Hitech's first ever one-two finish by clinging on to second. His lack of speed as the track dried bottled up those behind and some kind of incident looked inevitable.
That incident came on lap 12 when a collision at the Turn 3 hairpin between championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin), team-mate Max Chilton (running third) and Wayne Boyd (T-Sport), forced Chilton to pit, sent Boyd into retirement and dropped Ricciardo back to eighth.
Formula 2 championship leader Robert Wickens (Carlin), who started 15th, then found himself best of the rest, with Nick Tandy (JTR) storming through the chaos after a poor start to leap to fourth. But Tandy spun at Mercedes Curve with three laps to run and fell back to eighth. He set fastest lap and recovered to sixth by passing both Adriano Buzaid (T-Sport) and Ricciardo in the stadium section on the final tour.
Riki Christodoulou (Fortec) was another to suffer a poor start, but avoided incident to complete a stealthy climb to fifth.
His team-mate Daniel McKenzie won the national class comfortably and drove with composure to finish 10th overall.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 30m05.203s
2. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M + 1.039s
3. Robert Wickens Carlin D/V + 1.448s
4. Marcus Ericsson Double R D/M + 1.837s
5. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M + 8.775s
6. Nick Tandy JTR M/M + 13.081s
7. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V + 14.244s
8. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V + 14.546s
9. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V + 15.482s
10. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H + 17.281s
11. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M + 25.542s
12. Stephane Richelmi Barazil Epsilon D/M + 34.618s
13. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M + 35.374s
14. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M + 35.892s
15. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H +1m02.180s
16. Max Chilton Carlin D/V + 1 lap
17. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H + 1 lap
Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V 12 laps
Hywel Lloyd CF D/H 9 laps
Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H 4 laps