Round eight of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship turned into everything but a sunshine story for Joel Eriksson, who suffered a series of setbacks this weekend on a highly difficult visit to Germany’s Nürburgring.
Eriksson went into the event bidding to boost his title hopes, but instead lost ground in the standings with an eighth-place finish as his best result from the weekend’s trio of races.
The Swede was plagued throughout the meeting by a general lack of grip, persisting regardless of external conditions in traditionally fickle Eifel weather, causing him to qualify far down the order and then fight his way back to tenth, ninth and eighth respectively in the three races.
Eriksson led the way among Team Motopark’s quintet of drivers in each of the races, and – with a total of 18 positions gained – also made up more places than any other driver over the course of the weekend, offering at least slight solace.
”A disastrous weekend, that’s the only word I can find for it,” says Joel Eriksson. ”Nothing has worked and we’ve just been lacking grip. The car itself was actually pretty well balanced, but we’ve been unable to match the pace of our rivals. It’s even been scary at times to watch some of the other cars out there, especially in the rain. I managed to make up eight places in each of the last two races, and two in Race 1, but it’s little consolation. We will sit down next week and have a close look at things and see what we can learn.”
In the title race, Eriksson now faces a steep uphill slope, having slid to 116 points adrift of championship leader Lando Norris (GBR) with 150 still up for grabs in 2017. Eriksson, however, retains third place overall, sitting just 43 behind second-placed Maximilian Günther (GER).
“It’s no secret that things are looking very bad in terms of the title, but I can guarantee that we’ll continue to fight until the final point,” Eriksson continues. “If nothing else, I at least want to make sure we return to winning ways in the final part of the season and get back to where we belong.”
The penultimate round of the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship is pencilled in for Austria’s Red Bull Ring on September 22-24.
RESULTS (top five)
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 8
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 20 laps
2: Jake Hughes (GBR), +17.562s
3: Joey Mawson (AUS), +35.435s
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), +36.251s
5: Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT), +37.242s
10: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +50.510s
1: Jake Hughes (GBR), 26 laps
2: Lando Norris (GBR), +0.539s
3: Callum Ilott (GBR), +12.767s
4: Tadasuke Makino (JPN), +13.814s
5: Ralf Aron (EST), +15.205s
9: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +36.104s
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 25 laps
2: Jake Hughes (GBR), +0.794s
3: Ralf Aron (EST), +2.197s
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), +5.225s
5: Jehan Daruvala (IND), +8.658s
8: Joel Eriksson (SWE), +20.851s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 24 of 30 races
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 381 p.
2: Maximilian Günther (GER), 308 p.
3: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 265 p.
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), 260 p.
5: Jake Hughes (GBR), 193 p.