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Le Mans: Series race two report

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Le Mans: Series race two report
Sep 8, 2008, 9:00 PM

Victory for Van der Garde Having withdrawn from Saturday's race, Giedo Van der Garde made amends today with his fifth race win of the season. In front of a healthy crowd (170,000 spectators turned out in total over the weekend) the Dutch driver ...

Victory for Van der Garde

Having withdrawn from Saturday's race, Giedo Van der Garde made amends today with his fifth race win of the season. In front of a healthy crowd (170,000 spectators turned out in total over the weekend) the Dutch driver moved one step closer to securing the title. Fabio Carbone and Esteban Guerrieri (Ultimate Signature) joined him on the podium.

Only twenty-five Formula Renault 3.5 cars lined up on the start grid, with a clutch problem confining Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) to the pits. Thanks to his mechanics, he was able to join the race from there.

Esteban Guerrieri did not get the start he would have wanted, Giedo Van der Garde and Fabio Carbone both passing him on the first bend. Further back, Siso Cunill (KTR) ran into Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing). Cunill was forced to retire, while Martinez needed to make a trip to the pits to get his rear spoiler replaced.

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader was out in front, ahead of Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature), Esteban Guerrieri (Ultimate Signature), Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing).

With metronomic consistency, Van der Garde repeatedly beat the fastest lap time of the race as he opened up a gap between himself and the chasing pack. After five laps, he had built a two-second lead over Carbone, who in turn was well clear of Guerrieri. Sixth-placed Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) was the first man to change his tyres.

One by one, the other drivers followed suit, Fabio Carbone and Charles Pic stopping on lap 8, and Van der Garde one lap later. Guerrieri thus inherited the lead and built up quite a head of steam before heading for the pits himself.

With all the pit stops done and dusted, Giedo Van der Garde once again found himself in first place. But the two Ultimate Signature men, Fabio Carbone and Esteban Guerrieri were right on his tail!

Behind fourth-placed Aleshin, there was a hard-fought battle for fifth spot between Miguel Molina, Charles Pic, Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com Racing) and Marco Barba (International Draco Racing), but the four men involved remained in that order until the end of the race.

There was no change in the race order as the finish line approached, and Giedo Van der Garde completed his fifth win of the season, ahead of Fabio Carbone and Esteban Guerrieri, to move one step closer to the title. The Dutchman now leads Fabio Carbone by 53 points, and needs just nine more to take Alvaro Parente's title.

Giedo Van der Garde: "What happened to me yesterday was really frustrating. Today everything worked perfectly. My only problem was controlling the car after the pit stop. We had changed the front tyres and I was getting a lot of oversteer, but then everything was fine. It was a hard battle with the two Ultimate Signature drivers. I can't wait for Estoril. My aim is to win the title there."

Fabio Carbone: "Once more, we have proved that we have got a really good car. Giedo is even quicker than us, but we've still got two more races to claw back the deficit. The Teams title is still our goal. "

Esteban Guerrieri: "First my first pole position, now my first podium finish! The start was important. From then on I kept a steady pace, then made up ground on Fabio and Giedo at the end. But I couldn't take any unnecessary risks."

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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