Norisring race 1: Kaffer cast out

Pierre Kaffer's victory in Saturday's German Formula 3 Championship at the Norisring proved to be shortlived, as he was disqualified later that evening for running an illegal floor, handing the win to Frank Diefenbacher

Norisring race 1: Kaffer cast out

Kaffer had led from the start under the safety car to the red flag finish, due to a multiple pile-up on the ultra-fast start/finish straight, as torrential rain turned the race into a test of survival.

The German lost his nearest challenger, Nicolas Kiesa, when the Dane spun out of second behind the safety car, a trick he repeated a lap later. He was certainly not alone in doing that, and it came as a surprise to many that the race was green flagged on lap five, as standing water was causing many to spin.

Kaffer immediately grabbed a 1.5sec lead on the opening lap from Tony Schmidt, Diefenbacher and Stefan Mucke. The latter's battle with former series leader Toshihiro Kaneishi ended when the Japanese driver spun down to 13th at the Station Hairpin.

Kaffer held a 3sec lead as Diefenbacher passed Schmidt for second. Diefenbacher immediately began to trim Kaffer's advantage until he spun at the chicane on lap 13, allowing Schmidt ahead once more. Diefenbacher redressed the balance four laps later, but could do little about Kaffer, who was now over 5secs down the road.

A charging drive from Gary Paffett saw the young Englishman climb from ninth on the grid to fifth, and he was right on Mucke's tail when red flags appeared for a huge crash on the start/finish straight.

As the rain suddenly intensified, Japan's Kousuke Matsuura was biffed into the pitwall from behind by an unidentified culprit. As Marc Caldonazzi lifted off in avoidance of the spinning Japanese, he was collected at high speed by F3000 racer Zsolt Baumgartner. The Hungarian then speared into the barriers in his three-wheeled machine as Caldonazzi spun wildly - all this not far in front of the leaders who were about to lap them.

Luckily, all three escaped unharmed, although their cars sustained heavy damage. The only victim of the day was Kaffer, who was thrown out as the floor of his Team Kolles Dallara was ruled to be too thin.

Pierre Kaffer, Team Kolles Dallara F300-Mugen, 27 laps
Frank Diefenbacher, BSR Dallara F300-Opel, +3.4s
Tony Schmidt, GM Motorsport Dallara F301-Toyota, +11.5s
Stefan Mucke, Mucke Motorsport Dallara F301-Opel, +12.1s
Gary Paffett, Team Rosberg Dallara F301-Opel, +14.3s
Nicolas Stelandre, JB Motorsport Dallara F399-Opel, +29.5s
Toshihiro Kaneishi, BSR Dallara F300-Opel, +28.479s

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