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F3: Goethe secures maiden win after final lap fight with Leon in Imola Sprint Race

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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Race winner Noel Leon of Mexico and Van Amersfoort Racing (20) celebrates on

Oliver Goethe secured his first Formula 3 race victory for Campos Racing in a dramatic Sprint Race in Imola after initially losing the win to a five-second time penalty for a Safety Car infringement.

Having won the race on the road, his time penalty temporarily handed P1 to Van Amersfoort Racing’s Noel León, but a Stewards decision to overturn the penalty post-race handed the win back to Goethe.

MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz, who was also awarded his own time penalty for the same infraction as Goethe, moved up to second after the removal of his penalty and VAR’s León subsequently dropped to third after being handed his own post-race time penalty.

Starting from second on the reverse grid, León took the lead with a brave pass around the outside of the polesitter in MP Motorsport’s Kacper Sztuka at the first chicane, but his work was far from done.

Maintaining the lead across four Safety Car restarts throughout an incident-filled Sprint, the Mexican driver headed the field for every lap, until the final tour.

After joint-Championship leader Luke Browning suffered contact with Sztuka on the penultimate lap fighting for fifth, a Virtual Safety Car was deployed with the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver stuck in the gravel trap.

Goethe was on the rear wing of leader Leon, and pounced as the VSC was withdrawn to take the lead just three corners from the chequered flag.

A sixth-place finish for PREMA Racing and Alpine Academy member Gabriele Minì moved the Italian up to 37 points, making it a three-way tie at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, with Browning and Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli both on the same number of points heading into Sunday’s Feature Race.

For a full and in-depth report on the FIA Formula 3 Sprint Race, head over to the official website here.

Formula 3 Highlights: 2024 Emilia Romagna GP Sprint Race

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