Lance Stroll wraps up FIA F3 European Championship title at Imola

© Thomas Suer
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Rising Canadian racer Lance Stroll became the youngest winner of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship on Sunday at Imola, clinching the title with four races to spare.

Stroll, 17, is widely expected to make the step up to Formula 1 next year with Williams, having worked as a development driver with the team throughout 2016.

Stroll recently started a testing program with the British team using a 2014-spec F1 car, the FW36, but maintained that his focus lay with wrapping up the F3 title.

The Canadian has led the standings since the third round of the season, taking 11 wins in 27 races and 17 podiums.

After winning the second race of the Imola weekend, Stroll’s lead became unassailable, making him the youngest champion in the 40-year history of the series.

“Imola is one of my favourite tracks. I topped the times in both Free Practice sessions on Friday and ultimately started all three races from pole,” Stroll said.

“I scored good points in the opening race, leading until the second re-start after a Safety Car. I actually did nothing wrong but Niko [Kari] did a better job and I wasn’t prepared to jeopardize a rostrum finish by being overly aggressive especially as he was no threat to me in the title fight.

“In Sunday morning’s race, the pace was really good. Having built a lead each time I had to deal with three Safety Car re-starts. Over the last two laps I felt the title was arriving.

“In the third race again my pace was good and it was nice to have an uninterrupted race in terms of no Safety Cars and score an unchallenged victory.”

Stroll will continue to test with Williams and contest the final round of the F3 season at Hockenheim later this month.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.