Raised in the Eifel mountains, the Nürburgring is a place synonymous with racing, boasting a variety of thrilling and pulse-raising track layouts, it is revered as one of the true challenges for a racing driver. Taking to the 3.629-kilometre long sprint circuit, the FIA Formula 3 championship set about conquering all the ‘ring had to offer. With rookie drivers joining the grid this weekend, our Hitech squad raised to the challenge, proving their worth in a stunning display of talent and teamwork. That saw us reign victorious with our first win of the season and 3 podiums to boot.
After whetting our appetite for success with a tantalisingly close test session on Friday, we were treated to one of our best qualifying sessions, with all four drivers claiming a spot in the top 10, led by Jake lining up in 2nd for Race 1.
With a relentless downpour soaking the German track on Saturday morning, it was clear the brave crowds would be treated to a thrilling first race. Heading off from the front row, Jake struggled for grip off the line, which saw him fall back to P4 as the pack streamed into turn 1. But undeterred by the wet conditions, it wasn’t long before the British driver clinched back the positions. As the racers battled against the thoroughly sodden track beneath them, Nikita fell victim to a hit from Fenestraz behind, the incident sending the Russian spinning at speed into the gravel, sadly ending his race on the spot. Back on track, with the full-course-yellow hindering his chances to chase for the win, Jake gave a masterclass in control to keep his car in check, crossing the line to a hard-earned podium. Whilst Tadasuke put in a truly skilful fight to the flag, his 4th place finish later was dropped to P7 after he was deemed to have sped slightly whilst under the full course yellow. With Jake’s shiny trophy taking pride of place in the garage, we set to work for qualifying, eager to build on success.
With the track still wet on Saturday afternoon, relishing the tricky conditions, our Hitech heroes closed their visors for an all-out bid for pole. With the largest FIA Formula 3 grid to date, it was all about finding the gap and avoiding the spray, a task that the team timed to a tee. Hungry for that clear view to turn 1, Jake topped the timings from the beginning of the session, claiming back the top spot at every opportunity ending the session on pole position for Race 2. Whilst a storming session from Tadasuke, awarded him an impressive 4th place on the grid, with Ralf in 7th and Nikita in 11th respectively.
With a dry track on Sunday morning, we held our breath on the pit wall as the grid lined up for Race 2. Shooting from pole, Jake held the lead into the tight turn 1, whilst the rest of the pack vied for position. Laying down the power, he immediately pulled a gap to the chasing field and remained unchallenged for the majority of the race. Proving he was more than fighting fit after recovering from his broken wrist, Tadasuke relentlessly challenged Ilott in a bid for the final podium position. Honing all his experience gained so far from this first year in an European series, our Honda Protégé scored his best result of the season with a brilliant 4th place finish, just ahead of Ralf in 5th. With just two laps remaining, we anxiously watched as Jake’s lead ahead of Lando Norris narrowed to a tantalising small margin. Pulses racing on the pit wall, our ‘Banzai Brummie’ carved perfect lines at each turn, to hold off any challenge from behind. Swooping into the final corner, with fists in the air, we scaled the fences to welcome home our first win of the season. The sound of our team national anthem ringing out, we gathered proudly under the podium to catch the sweet champagne spray of victory.
Catching up with our race winner amidst a sea of high-fives, he was quick to echo our feelings:
“This race was mega and my car was really good too. I was on the front row in the first race I did last year and now I finally got that first win! Really I want to thank Hitech GP, Mercedes and everyone involved, this win is for the guys they work so hard, it’s taken longer than we wanted, but we got there and this win feels so good!”
Our ears still ringing from cheers at the chequered flag, the squad returned to the wheel, ready to seal the weekend with another piece of silverware for our trophy cabinet.
Tangles and Triumph
Revving up for the final foray of our Nürburgring weekend, Jake and Ralf headed up our attack from the second row, ready to pounce for a podium. The race had a turbulent start as the 22-car field launched into turn 1, whilst our fighting foursome avoided trouble, a safety car was soon called to recover two stricken cars in the gravel. Eager to replicate his success in the previous races, Tadasuke just misjudged his line as he vied for position, catching his front wing with the rear of Mawson’s car, causing him to pit for a replacement. Meanwhile, in a difficult weekend for our Russian rocket, Nikita lost control and skirted off into the grass. Battling to get back on track, he narrowly avoided coming together with Defourny and was handed a post-race penalty. In a rollercoaster of results, both Jake and Ralf fought hard to cross the line in 2nd and 3rd, claiming a double podium, a bumper haul of points for the team and an impressive champagne spraying performance.
Signing off from a triumphant weekend, we look forward to continuing our success as we head from one ring to another, as we build on our pace and performance to tackle the Red Bull Ring on 23-24th September.