Christian Vietoris came through a typically chaotic Formula 3 Euro Series race at the Norisring to take his second victory of the season on Sunday.
The Mucke Motorsport driver spent most of his time ahead of the main action, as he benefited from a collision early on between his teammates Sam Bird and Alexander Sims, which forced the former out of the race from the lead. Vietoris then passed Roberto Merhi for the lead shortly after a restart on lap nine, and would hold the top spot all the way to the flag from there. Behind him a crazy race ensued.
Jean-Karl Vernay sustained race-long pressure to take second place, having been under threat from Jules Bianchi for most of the second half of the race. The championship leader had slowly worked his way up from 11th after making a bad start from eighth on the grid.
The pair briefly caught Vietoris in the closing stages, while dropping fourth-placed Merhi with ease. But after another safety car period towards the end, Vietoris made a good restart to get a safe gap.
Following that restart, the final four laps were mayhem. Bianchi passed Vernay for second at the first corner with three laps to go, but a lap later he ran wide at the same place and lost the position.
The championship leader struck back immediately to dive back ahead of Vernay at Turn 2, while Mika Maki, who started 23rd, picked off Merhi for fourth at the same corner.
Merhi took that place back with a lunge at Turn 4, but he would finish outside of the points after running very wide at Turn 2 on the final lap.
Ahead of that incident, Bianchi lost second again by running wide at Turn 1 on the last lap. He then came under pressure from Maki, who got a run on the ART driver out of the final corner, and won a thrilling drag race to the line for third place.
Behind that action, Atte Mustonen took fifth after a solid race, while Tiago Geronimi benefited from the last lap scrambles to take sixth, having started last on the grid.
There was more to come after the race as well, with Maki being handed a time penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, which dropped him out of the top 10, and handed the final podium place back to Bianchi.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M 40m44.425s
2. Jean Karl Vernay Signature D/V + 3.740s
3. Jules Bianchi ART D/M + 4.374s
4. Atte Mustonen Motopark D/M + 4.924s
5. Tiago Geronimi Signature D/V + 5.687s
6. Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M + 6.363s
7. Adrien Tambay ART D/M + 6.459s
8. Roberto Merhi Manor D/M + 6.830s
9. Matteo Chinosi Prema D/M + 7.286s
10. Cesar Ramos Manor D/M + 8.733s
11. Brendon Hartley Carlin D/V + 9.694s
12. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M + 9.737s
13. Kevin Mirocha HBR D/M + 12.448s
14. Johan Jokinen Kolles & Heinz D/V + 13.258s
15. Mika Maki Signature D/V + 34.306s
16. Alexander Sims Mucke D/M + 1 lap
17. Marco Wittmann Mucke D/M + 2 laps
18. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin D/V + 3 laps
19. Basil Shaaban Prema D/M + 4 laps
20. Pedro Enrique Manor D/M + 7 laps
Nick Tandy Kolles & Heinz D/V 21 laps
Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 7 laps
Christopher Zanella Motopark D/M 5 laps
Sam Bird Mucke D/M 4 laps
Andrea Caldarelli SG D/M 4 laps
Johnny Cecotto HBR D/M 3 laps