NORTHERN Irish racer William Buller maintained his recent strong form in the F3 Euroseries with a second ‘victory’ of the season at the Norisring – even if a decision from series officials means that his success in the opening race of the weekend won’t be recognised in the record books.
Will, from Scarva, was competing at the challenging Norisring street circuit for the first time, but headed into the event – which saw the Euroseries field joined by drivers from the British F3 International Series - with confidence on a high having taken his maiden Euroseries victory in the previous event at the Red Bull Ring.
After a solid run in practice, Will was on the pace in qualifying, which was delayed until Saturday morning because of issues with the street surface, and secured a place on the second row of the grid for both race one and race three.
A chaotic opening race of the weekend saw Will stay out of trouble to find himself running in second place in the closing stages and he took the chequered flag behind race winner Daniel Juncadella for a strong podium finish. Juncadella had however been involved in a number of clashes during the race and was excluded from the results in a move that was expected to see Will promoted into first place.
However, post-race, officials deemed that because the exclusion was for a driving infringement and not for a technical issue, the remaining positions would stay as they were, with Will staying second on the results and the race having no official winner.
The reverse grid second race saw Will take the chequered flag in fifth place, scoring points for third amongst the Euroseries racers, but the final race would end in disappointment when Will was caught out in torrential rain that hit the circuit on Sunday.
Contact with Pascal Wehrlein into turn one saw him damage his Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen and resulted in a pit-stop for repairs, while a drive-through penalty meant he finished a lap down in 18th overall and tenth amongst the Euroseries competitors.
Despite that, Will – who ended the weekend having scored the best result for both his Carlin team and for Volkswagen – has now closed the gap to the championship leader Juncadella and moved up to third in the title standings.
“It wasn’t the perfect weekend, but I think I performed well for my first time at the Norisring,” he said. “Qualifying went well so we knew we were in a position to challenge near the front although we lacked a little bit of pace when the first race got underway. However, we need to remember that the team has only been there once before and our main rivals Prema have been competing at the circuit for a decade, so they know it a lot more and have more data to work with.
“Second on the road in race one was a good result but I thought we’d got the victory when Juncadella was excluded. I’ve never seen a situation like that before, but it appears they didn’t want to penalise those who had been taken out of the race more than they had been penalised already. I can understand the reasoning, but for me personally, it’s disappointing to have missed out on taking the win and scoring the extra championship points.
“We showed better pace in the reverse grid race to get the fastest lap but race three was some of the most difficult conditions I’ve ever raced in as it was so wet. I got caught out and collided with Wehrlein but there was nothing I could do as the circuit was so slippery and the visibility was awful.
“All in all though, we’ve managed to close the gap to the top two in the championship and have moved up a position in the standings so we need to continue making progress to bring that gap down even further in the upcoming events.”
Will’s next event will be his home round of the GP3 season at Silverstone next weekend.