Pantano and Muller win in German F3

The opening round of the German F3 championship on Sunday was won by Giorgio Pantano and the KMS team after a stunning start from fifth on the grid at the Belgian Zolder track

Pantano and Muller win in German F3

The Italian followed early leader Jeroen Bleekmolen until lap 6, when he braved an outbraking manoeuvre at the end of the pit straight.

He made no mistakes for the remainder of the event, to take victory in what was his first German F3 race, and only his 9th race in cars.

"I had a very good start, but I was being pressured by Stefan Mucke," said Pantano.

"I felt the other drivers had better traction, but my car handled superbly throughout the whole race," he went on.

"I was able to take Jeroen on the outside - I am very, very happy!"

Pole sitter Alex Muller, a veteran of the series, took the second race. The German led away from the line as fellow front row man Nicolas Stelandre stalled, and was collected by Enrico Taccacelo which caused the race to be stopped.

On the restart, Muller managed to lead away again, but new second place man Pantano was passed by Bjorn Wirdheim.

A failed overtaking move by Pantano and some aggressive defending from Wirdheim led to Mucke finding his way through, and dropped the Italian to 4th.

However, as the handling of his car improved, Pantano managed to pass Mucke and Wirdheim and closing to within 2 seconds of Muller.

It was not enough, however, and the Italian crossed the line second, to take the lead in the championship after the first meeting.

"I am quite happy," said Pantano.

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