It was probably the most exciting race of the ATS Formula 3 Cup so far this season. In dry conditions, the young talents battled for points in the support programme of the ADAC GT Masters. The rookies took all places on the podium for the first race of the second race weekend at the 3.442-km Lausitzring. Briton Sam MacLeod from Van Amersfoort Racing secured his first victory; Indy Dontje from Team Lotus took second. Celebrating his first podium finish, Nicolai Sylvest from JBR Motorsport & Engineering grabbed the third place.
The leader of the overall standings, Markus Pommer from Neckarsulm (Lotus), lost his pole position during the start and dropped in the order. Nabil Jeffri (Motopark) used this chance. Behind the Malaysian, Briton Sam MacLeod (Van Amersfoort Racing) overtook the Russian Nikita Zlobin (SMP Racing by ADM Motorsport). The Petronas protégé from Kuala Lumpur opened a gap but was pursued by MacLeod and Dutchman Indy Dontje (Lotus). Dane Nicolai Sylvest followed closely behind. Pommer started to carve his way through the field. Putting pressure on Malaysian Weiron Tan (Van Amersfoort Racing), he passed him as well as Andrés Méndez (Lotus / all in F311 Volkswagen). Sylvest had to let the 23-year old past too.
McLeod took the top position in a change of lead. And Dontje passed Jeffri, who pushed back on the inside line. They crashed in the process. Jeffri had to retire and Dontje rejoined the race in fourth place. MacLeod managed to break away from the field. Behind him, Pommer had technical difficulties and was defeated by both Dontje and Sylvest. Pommer saw the chequered flag in fourth place.
Sylvest finished third, grabbing his first podium finish in the ATS Formula 3 Cup. Dontje drove across the finish line in second place. MacLeod scored his first victory in an ATS Formula 3 Cup race. Three rookies on the podium!
Weiron Tan will be the pole-sitter for the reversed-grid race this afternoon at 4.25 pm. Behind him will be Andrés Méndez and Markus Pommer.
Sam MacLeod: “I had a good start from P4 to second and put pressure on Nabil. Then he made a mistake and I got past. I got a big gap and set the fastest lap so I could really control the race from the front.”
Indy Dontje: “It was quite hectic. When Nabil and I pushed each other I thought for me the race is over, but I could continue and finished in P2 in the end. This is probably the best race so far with a lot of passing. I enjoyed it!”
Nicolai Sylvest: “It is a really good feeling to be on the podium for the first time ever. When Markus overtook me I did not think I could get back, but I fought hard and in the end it worked.”