Cochet takes Malboro Masters victory

French Formula 3 Championship leader Jonathan Cochet added the Marlboro Masters title to his Pau Grand Prix victory with a dominant win at Zandvoort on Sunday

Cochet takes Malboro Masters victory

Cochet's Signature Dallara-Renault made a good start from pole position and, with his closest rivals suffering catastrophes of varying magnitudes, no one ever got close to the flying Frenchman.

"My start was very good and after that I didn't look in my mirrors," he said. "I wanted to go very fast to build a one or two-second lead. My car made it very easy, although I had to attack very hard in the first few laps, because you don't know whether the second man will catch you at the end of the race.

"There were a lot of things on the track at the end because of crashes, but I slowed down because I had a big lead."

The first of Cochet's rivals to strike trouble was second-row starter Narain Karthikeyan. The Indian stalled, causing the start to be aborted and forcing him to the rear of the grid for the second attempt.

Then outside front-row man Yannick Schroeder discovered he had stripped first gear on the second parade lap. He was forced to start the race in second, meaning that he was very slow off the line.

At the second start proper, Takuma Sato (second row) and Gianmaria Bruni (third row) both stalled, their clutches getting too hot to operate. That meant that Cochet's team-mate Benoit Treluyer, the other third-row starter, was able to grab second from Ben Collins and Tomas Scheckter, who burst through from the fourth and fifth rows respectively.

The safety car appeared at the end of the first lap, Schroeder's car having been pitched into the barriers after a collision with Milos Pavlovic. When they restarted on lap four, Treluyer was nowhere near as sharp as Cochet, who sprinted away. Collins then pulled off a great manoeuvre on the other Frenchman to take second around the outside of the Tarzanbocht hairpin.

Scheckter fended off an early challenge from Toshihiro Kaneishi to start closing in on Treluyer. The South African finally found a way by on lap 11 as Treluyer, jetlagged after flying in from his Japanese F3 Championship exploits only on Thursday, wilted further and further.

Kaneishi took a good fifth from Tom van Bavel, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Andrew Kirkaldy, while Nicolas Kiesa had a strong recovery from a first-lap excursion onto the grass to pass Matteo Grassotto on the final lap for ninth.

British F3 leader Antonio Pizzonia damaged his reputation in a huge way by slipping up big time. The Brazilian, who qualified down in 22nd, only raced at the behest of the Manor Motorsport team but he deliberately arrived late in the pits, after the pit lane had closed. He therefore was forced to start from the pits, putting in an unconvincing drive to 27th before giving up after a collision with Bruni.

Results
Jonathan Cochet Fra 33m09.939s
Ben Collins GBR 33m13.368s
Tomas Scheckter RSA 33m13.740s
Benoit Treluyer Fra 33m17.916s
Toshihiro Kaneishi Jap 33m18.455s
Tom Van Bavel Bel 33m19.134s
Jeroen Bleekemolen Hol 33m20.454s
Andrew Kirkaldy GBR 33m21.186s
Nicolas Kiesa Den 33m22.539s
Matteo Grassotto Ita 33m24.391s
Tiago Monteiro Por 33m25.383s
Milos Pavlovic Yug 33m25.506s
Julien Beltoise Fra 33m32.368s
Martin O'connell GBR 33m33.532s
Zsolt Baumgartner Hun 33m34.739s
Armin Pornbacher Ita 33m37.536s
Tony Schmidt Ger 33m38.442s
Marco Du Pau Hol 33m44.662s
Narain Karthikeyan Ind 33m54.387s
Nicolas Stelandre Bel 33m58.233s
Ryo Fukuda Jap 33m59.145s
Giorgio Mecattaf Sui 34m01.238s
Omar Galeffi Ita 34m01.450s
Adam Jones GBR 34m02.005s
James Andanson Jnr Fra 34m02.006s
Warren Carway Irl 34m48.097s
Takuma Sato Jap 1 Lap
Tristan Gommendy Fra 2 Laps
30 Philip Cloostermans Bel 2 Laps


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