Marlboro Masters 1998:
The Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 (1/2)
The formula three race is the main course of the day. The winner of this race is the unofficial world champion of formula three, or so the organizers want you to believe. Fact is that, with the demise of the race in Monaco and the race in Macao being kind of a gamble, the race at Zandvoort is really the only occasion where the top drivers of all the local championships can be compared to each other in relatively neutral circumstances.
Here's Davide Uboldi having one of those days. During pre-race warm-up his car stalled on the track. After the warm-up finished his car gets towed by the marshals. Not very good for his confidence, I reckon.
The starting grid of the race was determined by two qualifying races on
Saturday. Oddly enough the number one place at the start does not have to be for the
fastest qualifier: the drivers who start in the first qualifying race decide the uneven
places and the ones in the second race the even places. So even if the winner of the
second race is faster than the winner of the first race, he still has to start from place
Starting from the first place on the grid was David Saelens, and with that the Belgian held the best papers for winning the race.
David Saelens led the race from start to finish in his Renault-engined
Dallara F396, and won the race convincingly. David, the leading driver in the French
championship, was most surprised of all with this achievement, although he already won
eight races this year. The sympathetic Fleming accepted his prize and the honours with
great enthusiasm and was loudly applauded during his victory lap.
Enrique Bernoldi finished in second place in his Dallara F398, also powered
by the Renault RS engine. This Brazilian of the Promatecme UK team leads the British
championship. Although he could close up on David Saelens on several occasions, overtaking
proved to be impossible.
Due to very strict regulations all cars are very evenly matched, and the popularity of the Dallara chassis (of the 58 entries 52 had Dallara chassis, the rest drove Martini chassis) increases that even more. On the up-side this makes the quality of the drivers (and their teams) deciding; on the down-side it causes very dull racing and very few overtaking.
Mario Haberfeld made up the top three. Mario is also an Brazilian driver
competing in the British series. Race long he was hot on the tail of Enrique Bernoldi, but
he didn't get the opportunity to pass and his Mugen-Honda engine didn't give him an edge.
As a result the top three remained unchanged all race long.
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