Last weekend, the Nürburgring staged the eighth round of the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. And the starting grid featured three drivers who made their debut in the Formula One and DTM feeder series: Max Defourny (Van Amersfoort Racing), Sacha Fenestraz (Carlin) and Petru Florescu (Motopark). The first two of the three aforementioned newcomers even managed to secure their first FIA F3 European Championship points.
Frenchman Sacha Fenestraz had the best start into the weekend. The current leader in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup caused a stir by qualifying fourth. Only the three Britons Lando Norris (Carlin), Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) and Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) were faster than the newcomer with Argentinean roots. On the first three laps of the race, Fenestraz held fifth position behind Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix) but then braked too late and hit the rear of the Russian’s car. Fenestraz received a drive-through penalty for this incident and consequently had to settle for finishing 15th. In the second race, he came twelfth and in race three, the 18-year old secured his first championship point by crossing the line in tenth position.
Max Defourny, like Fenestraz, competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, also left the Nürburgring with points on his tally. The Belgian, currently fourth in the Formula Renault, made it to the top ten in the third race by overtaking David Beckmann (Motopark) on lap twelve. And when Nikita Mazepin made a mistake, Defourny even gained another position. The 18-year old defended this ninth place until crossing the finish line, which also meant he secured third place in the rookie ranking. In the first and second race, he finished eleventh and 18th respectively.
Petru Florescu, the third newcomer on the grid, also handled well the difficult weather conditions at his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship race meeting. In the wet first qualifying session, the Romanian secured 17th position, thus being the second-fastest Motopark driver. He also finished 17th in the wet race. In the third and last race of the weekend he demonstrated that he also has got what it takes to match the pace of the established F3 drivers in dry conditions: the 18-year old young gun who currently races in the EuroFormula Open once again finished 17th.