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Monday, August 27, 2012 - 14:00
Brilliant sunshine and fast rookies

On the seventh race weekend of the 2012 ATS Formula 3 Cup weekend, teams, drivers and visitors were delighted by a lot of sunshine. The 19th, 20th and 21st races of the season were held at the Lausitzring and the Eastern German circuit obviously suited Australian Mitchell Gilbert particularly well. The Australian dominated the qualifying session and won the first round of the weekend with a massive lead.

Round two was also won by a rookie: this time, Artem Markelov (Russia) crossed the line as race winner. On the grid for the 20th round of the season, ATS Formula 3 Trophy driver Andre Rudersdorfer was the pole sitter due to the reverse-grid format. The German succeeded in defending his lead for two laps, with his older car, but then, fending off the ATS Formula 3 Cup drivers proved to be impossible - and the 17-year old had to settle for finishing seventh. The third race of the weekend was won by Austrian Lukas Auer and so, all the three race wins of the weekend were secured by drivers who are contesting their maiden Formula 3 season, this year.

While Mitchell Gilbert was the man who scored more points than anybody else, on the Lausitzring weekend, Lukas Auer worked his way up to second position in the championship, with the Australian moving up to fourth, behind Japanese Kimiya Sato. While Sweden’s Jimmy Eriksson still holds the dominant championship lead, with six more races to go.

For the first time in the second half of the season, Jimmy Eriksson failed to add some of the extra points that can be secured on a race weekend to his tally: No pole position secured in the qualifying session, no fastest race lap. Particularly in round 21, the Swede who usually is one of the front-runners, was outpaced by his rivals and had to settle for finishing sixth. Nonetheless, preventing the championship leader from securing the title will be anything but easy. Eriksson currently holds an 86-point lead over second-placed Luks Auer and there are another 150 points to be scored, at the Nürburgring and the Hockenheimring. So, Eriksson theoretically could lose his lead but the chances that someone will be able to beat him in the battle for the title are slim.

The Formula 3 appearance at the Lausitzring proved to be a weekend of the rookies. All the three races were won by rookies, the qualifying session was dominated by a rookie - and on the grid for the 20-minute sprint on Saturday afternoon, another rookie held the pole position. No doubt: the newcomers are on the way up, in the ATS Formula 3 Cup. The are two more opportunities to witness the progress of the young guns: the race weekend held in three weeks time at the Nürburgring and the season finale held on the last weekend in September at Hockenheim.