Russian constructor Artline pledges to cut Dallara's F3 advantage

The firm behind the new Russian ArtTech chassis that is taking on Dallara in the Formula 3 European Championship has promised not to let up in its quest to take on the Italian constructor

Russian constructor Artline pledges to cut Dallara's F3 advantage

Harald Schlegelmilch, a race winner in the F3 Euro Series in 2007, gave the ArtTech P315 its debut at the Nurburgring last weekend, and ran at the back of the field.

Constructor Artline Engineering cut the gap from 1.2 seconds to the slowest Dallara in the first free practice period to 0.6s in the final qualifying session, to 0.3s in the last race.

The lack of pace was due to difficulty in getting tyre temperature - the ArtTech's testing has taken place at the Rustavi track in Georgia, often in ambient conditions of over 40 degrees, while last weekend at the Nurburgring the temperature remained in the low teens for most of the weekend.

Track temperature slumped from 25 degrees in practice and qualifying on Friday to 14 degrees for the final race, suggesting that Artline made strong progress in switching on its tyres.

The car also showed strong straight-line speed, generally just 1km/h off the fastest overall, despite a lack of pace off the preceding medium-speed right-hander.

Artline's Egor Nazarov said it was a matter first of managing expectations.

"If our expectation was to be in the top 10, we would be disappointed," he told AUTOSPORT. "But if it is to try out the car, to understand it, then not."

The ArtTech finished all three races, Schlegelmilch being called into the pits during the second for a set-up change.

Artline is aware that it is playing a catch-up game against teams that have had the current generation of Dallara for almost four years.

"Now we have to understand how the other teams work," added Nazarov. "They have got their tyres to working temperatures, but they have done a lot of work on modifying their cars.

"There is a saying by a politician who said, 'Now we are trailing behind by 50 years, but we have to run this distance in 10 years otherwise they will destroy us, and that is what we will do.'"

The ArtTech, which ran with an NBE engine at Nurburgring, will be offered for sale with the capability to take any customer engine installation.

A second Artline P315 was present in the team's awning at the Nurburgring, and will be raced by an undisclosed driver in the Euro F3 finale at Hockenheim next month.

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