Indy Dontje claims debut win in ATS Formula 3 Cup

The second race on the 4.326-km track at Red Bull Ring was dominated by exciting battles and hotly contested overtaking manoeuvres. Eleven drivers from nine countries put in an impressive performance in the support programme of the ADAC GT Masters which took place in sweltering temperatures of about 25 degrees Celsius, mixed with short drizzle. Indy Dontje from Team Lotus proved that he has completed the Formel ADAC, the high-speed school of motorsports, with honours. The Dutchman started from sixth and claimed his first win in the next level of Formula racing, the ATS Formula 3 Cup. Nabil Jeffri from Motopark finished second. Markus Pommer from Lotus took the chequered flag in third place.

Pole-sitter Maximilian Hackl from Ruderting (Amkon Motorsport / Dallara F311 OPC) had to let Russian Nikita Zlobin (SMP Racing by ADM Motorsport) pass right away. Both the driver from Moscow and Briton Sam MacLeod (Van Amersfoort Racing) received a drive-through penalty and, consequently, were not able to intervene in the battle for top places. Having taken the top position, Indy Dontje from the Netherlands (Lotus) continued to extend the gap to the field. Behind them, Hackl defended his position against a whole group of drivers keen to overtake him. The first one to succeed was Malaysian Nabil Jeffri (Motopark) who went on to chase Dontje. Markus Pommer (Lotus) from Neckarsulm followed suit. Hackl and Weiron Tan from Kuala Lumpur (Van Amersfoort Racing) fought exciting duels. In the end, the driver from Ruderting passed the Caterham protégé. Dane Nicolai Sylvest (JBR Motorsport & Engineering) and Columbian Andrés Méndez (Lotus / all in Dallara F311 Volkswagen) showed a thrilling battle, which Sylvest won after all. He then went on to put pressure on American Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational / Dallara F311 Mercedes) and succeeded again. Pole-sitter Hackl finished this top-quality race in eighth place. Rookie Dontje claimed his first victory in the current ATS Formula 3 Cup season, followed by Jeffri in second and Pommer in third place.

The cards will be reshuffled for the last time this weekend on Sunday at 1.35 p.m., when the young talents contesting the ATS Formula 3 Cup start into their third race at Red Bull Ring.

Indy Dontje: “It feels so good, especially considering from where we started. I had a good pace and was able to overtake cars. I really did not expect to claim the first place.”

Nabil Jeffri: “It could have gone better. I am sure that we could have finished first. I rely on doing better tomorrow. I want to be on the podium again. That was my target for this weekend, scoring a podium finish in every race.”

Markus Pommer: “I am really happy. The start was perfect! The car ran better than in race 1. I could have used another two or three laps, but I am still pleased. I set the fastest lap after all.”