JD Motorsport's Chris van der Drift won the 2008 Formula Master title today in Monza, although it was Jenzer Motorsport's Fabio Leimer that claimed the victory in the Series' round 15.
Both van der Drift and Leimer fought for the lead throughout the race, using safety car restarts to pass each other on several occasions; Leimer eventually took the win, his third of the season.
Van der Drift finished second, claiming his ninth podium finish of the year and the Drivers' title, ahead of newcomer Mihai Marinescu in third. Pro Motorsport's Marinescu climbed from a fifth-place start to secure third on his first weekend in Formula Master.
Having started sixth, Cram Competition's Arturo Llobell drove a clean race and was promoted to fourth after incidents involving Sergey Afanasiev and Norbert Siedler allowed Llobell through.
Trident Racing's Harald Schlegelmilch secured fifth ahead of Cram Competition's Frankie Provenzano whose sixth place awarded the Italian his second points-scoring finish of the season.
Team JVA's Josef Kral finished today's race in seventh place. Starting in P10, the Czech was sixth as the safety car came out at the end of lap one, following an incident involving ISR's Filip Salaquarda and both Scuderia Famà cars.
ISR's Tim Sandtler claimed the last points-scoring position this afternoon in eighth place, and will start tomorrow's race, the last Formula Master round of the season, on pole.
Leimer's win promoted him to second in the Drivers Classification as well as awarding him the Best Rookie accolade. Cram Competition drivers Llobell and Provenzano secured the Best Team-mate award thanks to their respective fourth and sixth place finish.
Ammermüller won the Rookies Classification, securing a testing session in the Indy Lights in the United States, whilst JD Motorsport's van der Drift and Vladimir Arabadzhiev are leading in the Team-mates classifications.
Fabio Leimer, Jenzer Motorsport "We had an amazing race and I'm really happy to have moved in front of Michael [Ammermüller] in the classification. I was worried about starting in third but Yuhi [Sekiguchi] didn't start from his spot so that was ok. The rest of the race was between Chris [van der Drift] and I, so I made the most of the restarts after each safety car period and managed to take the win!
"Tomorrow, the important thing for me is to finish in front of Michael [Ammermüller]. The track makes it easy to overtake and I think we can get to the front. I must get more points than him to stay second in the championship and win the GP2 test."
Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport - 2008 Formula Master Winner "It's absolutely amazing! It's my first year as champion after four years of racing in European championships. The season has been so good; the team has done really well. We took pole position seven times during the season, it's a pity I didn't get it in Estoril as well to make it all eight!
"I'm really looking forward to the Formula 1 test with the Honda Racing F1 team; it's going to be awesome! I've already tested in GP2 and now F1. It's the biggest thing; you can't get any higher than that so it's a pretty big deal and it's thanks to winning the Formula Master title.
"In today's race, it was pretty much impossible to stay in front after a safety car period here as the straights are long. Whatever gap you try and make before the safety car pulls in, the guy behind you has already caught you halfway down the straight."
Mihai Marinescu, Pro Motorsport "I saw the accident on the first lap and just tried to keep clear of everything. The team have done a really good job to make this result possible. It's a really good car and as soon as I sat in it I felt at home in it. The car is perfect and the set-up was fantastic."
Formula Master - MonzaRound 151. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23) 2. Chris van der Drift (NZL), JD Motorsport (#6) 3. Mihai Marinescu (ROM), Pro Motorsport (#41) 4. Arturo Llobell (ESP), Cram Competition (#1) 5. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31) 6. Frankie Provenzano (ITA), Cram Competition (#21) 7. Josef Kral (CZH), Team JVA (#29) 8. Tim Sandtler (GER), ISR (#19) 9. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Trident Racing (#27) 10. Simon Trummer (SUI), Iris Project (#35) 11. Michele Caliendo (ITA), ADM Motorsport (#22) 12. Riccardo Cinti (ITA), Euronova Racing (#36) 13. Tomas Pivoda (CZH), ADM Motorsport (#8) 14. Tor Graves (GBR), Team JVA (#30) 15. Norbert Siedler (AUT), ADM Motorsport (#17) 16. Matei Mihaescu (ROM), Jenzer Motorsport (#24) 17. Dominik Wasem (GER), Trident Racing (#47) 18. Sergey Mokshantev (RUS), Alan Racing (#43) Not classified Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5) Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4) Yuhi Sekiguchi (JAP), Euronova Racing (#45) Marcello Puglisi (ITA), Cram Competition (#9) Luca Persiani (ITA), Scuderia Famà (#25) Daniel Mancinelli (ITA), Scuderia Famà (#46) Filip Salaquarda (CZH), ISR (#18) Federico Scionti (ITA), ADM Motorsport (#20)
Formula Master drivers classification - top eight 1. Chris van der Drift (NZL), JD Motorsport (#6), 91 points 2. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23), 71 points 3. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Trident Racing (#27), 70 points 4. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31), 46 points 5. Arturo Llobell (ESP), Cram Competition (#1), 29.5 points 6. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4), 29 points 7. Kasper Andersen (DEN), Trident Racing (#32), 27 points 8. Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5), 25 points
Formula Master teams classification - top eight1. JD Motorsport, 143 points 2. Trident Racing, 91 points 3. Jenzer Motorsport, 74 points 4. Iris Project, 70 points 5. Cram Competition, 68 points 6. ADM Motorsport, 36 points 7. Team JVA, 24 points 8. Euronova Racing, 20.5 points
Formula Master rookies classification - top eight 1. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Trident Racing (#27), 97 points 2. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23), 86 points 3. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31), 67.5 points 4. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4), 45 points 5. Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5), 40 points 6. Josef Kral (CZH), Team JVA (#29), 39.5 points 7. Tim Sandtler (GER), ISR (#19), 38 points 8. Alejandro Núñez (ESP), Trident Racing (#33), 28 points
Formula Master team-mates classification - top eight 1. Vladimir Arabadzhiev & Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport, 703 points 2. Sergey Afanasiev & Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport, 699 points 3. Fabio Leimer & Matei Mihaescu, Jenzer Motorsport, 611 points 4. Sergey Afanasiev & Vladimir Arabadzhiev, JD Motorsport, 542 points 5. Josef Kral & Tor Graves, Team JVA, 432 points 6. Alejandro Núñez & Harald Schlegelmilch, Trident Racing, 405 points 7. Kasper Andersen & Harald Schlegelmilch, Trident Racing, 400.5 points 8. Kasper Andersen & Alejandro Núñez, Trident Racing, 369.5 points
Lap-by-lap analysis Lap 1: van der Drift leads into Turn 1 / Contact between Salaquarda and the Scuderia Famà cars causes Salaquarda to roll - all out / Safety car deployed / Graves spins and pits - rejoins Lap 2: Safety car Lap 3: Safety car in this lap Lap 4: Race restarted / Leimer passes van der Drift before Turn 1 / Contact between Seidler and Kral / Kral spins and rejoins / Llobell passes Kral for P6 / Provenzano and Sandtler pass Mihaescu for 11th and 12th places / Ammermüller up to 15th place Lap 5: Arabadzhiev passes Kral for 7th position / Ammermüller passes Trummer for 14th place Lap 6: Marinescu chasing Seidler for 4th position / Puglisi spins at Turn 10 - out / Safety car deployed Lap 7: Safety car Lap 8: Safety car in this lap Lap 9: Race restarted / van der Drift passes Leimer for the lead / Incidents involving Afanasiev, Arabadzhiev and Sekiguchi - all out / Safety car deployed Lap 10: Safety car Lap 11: Safety car in this lap Lap 12: Race restarted / Leimer reclaims the lead on the main straight / Provenzano passes Kral for 6th place
Chequered flag: 12:53
Eurosport's coverage for Formula Master's race weekend in Monza continues today with race two shown live on Eurosport 2 at 14:15 (CET).