Spielberg FR3.5: Rowland takes commanding win amid a chaotic end
Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver Rowland took victory in the Formula Renault 3.5’s Race 1 of the Red Bull Ring weekend. This was his fourth win of the season.
The British driver led every lap in the race and finished a massive 8.375 seconds ahead of Dean Stoneman (DAMS). Rowland survived the initial start as well as both the re-starts with ease.
In the second re-start, Stoneman (DAMS) tried to make a move but Rowland was too quick to pass. The Racing Steps Foundation driver also clocked the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:18.501.
Stoneman and team-mate Nyck de Vries finished second and third respectively. Both had a great start as the British driver made two places while the Dutch driver three places to move into second and third position.
Arden Motorsport’s Nicholas Latifi finished fourth after Pons Racing’s Roberto Merhi was penalised for exceeding track limits. Ten seconds were added to the Spaniard's time which demoted him to eleventh and out of points.
Merhi is also under investigation for his contact with Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) in the race. His day went from bad to worse after Latifi crashed into him at the end of the race.
Merhi had slowed down significantly at the start-finish line and the Swiss driver got caught and hit him at the back and flew to the other side of the track. Both were safe and got out of the car immediately. Below is the video:
Rowland was able to stretch his lead in the championship as rival Vaxiviere only managed a sixth position. The French driver was battling for third with Vries when a contact with Merhi, pushed him down two places.
Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Tom Dillmann cashed in on Vaxiviere’s troubles and made a brilliant move to get ahead and finish fifth.
The top ten was rounded off by Gustav Malja, the lead Strakka Racing at seventh, Tech 1 Racing’s Aurelien Panis eighth, Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) ninth and Fortec Motorsport’s Jazeman Jaafar tenth.
Earlier, at the start, Pons Racing’s Meindert van Buuren caused the first safety car after he ran wide on the grass and spun across the track taking out AVF’s Alfonso Celis Jr and Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Sean Gelael. Below is the video:
The second safety car was deployed to remove Roy Nissany’s (Tech 1 Racing) car which was stranded at Turn 8.
Among the biggest loser in the race was Lotus’ Marlon Stockinger who started from the front row but after a slow getaway, he pitted under the first safety car and retired.
Race 2 is slated to start at 18:20 local time.
A frustrating Saturday for Draco at Spielberg
Spielberg FR3.5: Vaxiviere wins Race 2; Nissany's maiden podium visit