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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 15:30

Jimmy Erikkson podium - ATS Formel 3Qualifying in German F3’s series opener in Zandvoort was a wet one. Ten minutes into the session, rain rendered the session a washout. The timing meant Lotus’ hopes of pole position were dashed.

But during the races, the team’s luck turned for the better. Jimmy Ericksson made a great start from third, made a position by Turn 1 and then chased Lucas Auer down for the lead. After a long dice, the Swede got the better of Auer and took the spoils; the perfect start to the season.

Race 2’s reverse grid meant Ericksson had to start eighth. He fought his way up to fifth. Team-mate Kimiya Sato, who had stalled his engine at the start of Race 1 and then crashed in Turn 1, came home sixth in Race 2.

The Japanese was much happier come Race 3. After a lightning start from the second row, he took the lead. Despite a Safety Car interruption, he kept his cool and scored Lotus’ second victory of the weekend.
Sheban Siddiqi suffered most from the qualifying lottery. In the wet, the Englishman only managed to qualify in 13th and 12th spots. In the midfield danger zone, he had to be extra careful in the first two races. He kept himself out of trouble and clocked two 11th places. For the last heat, he upped the risk level; his more aggressive strategy took him to 9th position and thus into the Top 10 in only his third Formula 3 race.
The fourth Lotus driver, Artem Markelov, started Race 1 from P9. He quickly moved up to 5th, only to then slide off the track in an intense fight. In Race 2, he battled from 14th on the grid to P9. In the third race, he fell victim to a crash at the start which prompted the aforementioned Safety Car period. He was an innocent victim of the shenanigans at the lights, though.
The unluckiest of the lot in Race 3 turned out to be Eriksson. A steward only showed the five second-sign when the lights were already turned to red. The incident threw the Swede, who stalled his car and got hit by another competitor. After a wheel change and with bent suspension, he could finish no higher than sixth.
In the overall leaderboard, Eriksson and Sato are third and fourth. They are trailing leader Auer by only two and five points respectively.
Timo Rumpfkeil, team principal: “The first Formula 3 weekend proved that we got the work spot on during the winter months. Two victories are a well-deserved reward. Jimmy and Kimi both have the potential to win the title. Artem and Sheban have shown great potential, too. Both improved in great strides during their maiden F3 weekend, and I’m sure we will sooner rather than later see very good results from them, too. Zandvoort proved that we are quick in whatever race situation. It’s a solid foundation to build upon for the season ahead. We just need to keep totally focussed and pull out the stops for the next round at Sachsenring.”