Raffaele Marciello took two victories in the penultimate round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, which took place this weekend at the circuit of Vallelunga. The 18-year-old Ferrari Driver Academy driver reinforced his title lead, reaching a total of 434.5 points, taking his advantage over Felix Rosenqvist, his only remaining rival for the 2013, to 45.5 points.
Marciello’s weekend began in a very promising way, with two pole positions and a second place to show for the qualifying sessions. The intense Saturday programme also included the first of the three races scheduled for the Vallelunga weekend. It was a race in which Raffaele took a commanding win, keeping the lead of the race from the lights to the flag. Marciello’s only problem during the weekend came at the start of Race 2. A warning light led to Raffaele turning off his engine, partly due to overheating of the unit due to the very long time that the cars were left waiting on the grid. The blow didn’t dent Marciello’s faith, which returned again a few hours later as he took victory in the third and final race of the weekend. Raffaele again acted out the script from Race 1, dominating the 22 scheduled laps without problems and with a good margin over his opponents. The FIA European Formula 3 Championship doesn’t allow much time to breathe and next weekend it will return to the track at the circuit of Hockenheim for the final round of the 2013 calendar.
“I knew there was promise of a good weekend as early as the first session of free practice. The car was well suited to the track and ahead of qualifying my only fear was unforeseen problems like traffic or yellow flags. But fortunately there were no setbacks and I took pole position both for Race 1 and Race 3, setting the base for the two victories. Unfortunately at the start of Race 2 I switched off the engine, seeing my chances of increasing my points gap in the title race vanish. I was starting from second position on the grid, and the starting procedure was longer than usual. The time we spent with the lights on was also long and the engine overheated. I would have been able to manage the situation as well as possible but they were disturbing moments. Still, overall the weekend has gone really well. I’ve increased my gap over my direct rival in the championship classification to 36 points and I can look forward to Hockenheim with plenty of confidence.”