Hauger and Caldwell cap off brilliant weekend for Prema in Austria

Dennis Hauger produced a stunning weekend of driving to finish on the podium of all three races of the Austrian F3 round of racing, winning Saturday’s first sprint from 12th on the grid before coming home third in the reverse grid race later in the afternoon.

Not content with that, Hauger backed up his pole position for the more important Sunday feature race by finishing in second, Prema teammate Olli Caldwell once again on the podium to make it a fantastic weekend for the Italian team.

SATURDAY RACE 1 RECAP

Hauger produced one of the drives of his career so far to make up 11 places and win race 1 of the Austrian F3 round, heading home teammate Caldwell.

That’s not to tell the entire story of the race, however, both Prema drivers benefitting from a late collision between duelling leaders Matteo Nannini and Clement Novalak that took them out of contention.

“For sure really happy coming from P12 to winning is an unbelievable feeling,” said Hauger following his dramatic win. “I had to keep it a bit smart at the beginning because there was such a train and really hard to move forward when all the tyres were fresh, but I knew the moment was when people started to degrade a bit more to come out on top. But really happy for it, that’s for sure.

“In free practice we weren’t the strongest, but we kept working from there and really happy to be on top. Thanks to the team and everyone around but have to enjoy this moment and keep pushing for the afternoon in race 2.”

Hauger had done all the good work in qualifying, grabbing pole position for Sunday’s feature race, allowing him the opportunity to further extend his championship lead. But after Caldwell’s second place, the Prema team and drivers will be hoping for another strong race on Saturday afternoon.

“I think this season is about consistency and these races are crazy, as we’ve seen in every one so far,” added Caldwell, who took his second podium following victory in Barcelona. “So it’s just picking up points where we can. I’ve still got a lot to learn from that, I started to drop back with the tyres, and I’ll admit I was very lucky with what happened ahead of me.”

Also benefitting from the late collision between Novalak and Nannini was pole sitter Logan Sargeant who finished third from Victor Martins, Jack Crawford and Caio Collet. Debut winner Jack Doohan grabbed more points by finishing seventh as Nannini eventually recovered to eighth ahead of Ayumu Iwasa and Alexander Smolyar.

SUNDAY FEATURE RECAP

Having started from pole position after his first qualifying effort on Saturday, Hauger was in the best possible position to maximise his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings.

And for a while it looked like he could exit the race weekend with two race wins and a podium, having a race long duel with eventual winner and former Prema man Frederik Vesti.

Yet sometimes caution is the better part of valour, and despite applying intense pressure on the ART driver, second place extends his lead in the drivers’ standings to 23 points from Jack Doohan with Caldwell jumping to fourth.

“I had a lot of fun this weekend for sure,” reflected Hauger. “I started P12 in race 1 and 2, getting on the podium in both and I wanted this win. It wasn’t meant to be.

“I think we had the pace for it but anyway really good points in the championship for sure and gained the lead in the championship as well, so you have to be happy with it. It’s a long run until the championship is over, so I have to keep pushing.”

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Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.

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