Sainz Extends Championship Lead after Race 1 Victory


Carlos Sainz Jr took his fifth win of the season as he extended his championship lead to 58 points as he dominated the opening race of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series weekend at the Nurburgring.

The DAMS driver led from pole position, and withstood a late rain shower to beat fellow Spaniard Roberto Merhi by 4.154s. Oliver Rowland was on course for second, but an issue with his gearbox that resulted in him being stuck in fourth gear with two laps to go saw him fall down to fourth behind Merhi and his Fortec Motorsport team-mate Sergey Sirotkin.

Philippines driver Marlon Stockinger was too far adrift from Rowland to also take advantage of the Briton’s misfortune but was able to finish fifth for Lotus, ahead of Finn Matias Lainé of Strakka Racing, while Brazilian Pietro Fantin was seventh for International Draco Racing.

Colombian rookie Oscar Tunjo took his best result of the season so far for himself and his Pons Racing team in eighth, as he held off the challenge of Zoel Amberg of AV Formula until the flag, while Marco Sorensen scored the final point in tenth for Tech 1 Racing.

While Championship leader Sainz was racing to the win, his main challenger to the title and his fellow Red Bull backed competitor Pierre Gasly had a day to forget. After struggling in qualifying and starting a lowly seventeenth, the Frenchman spent a number of laps stuck behind Merhi’s Zeta Corse team-mate Roman Mavlanov, and while trying to pass the Russian on lap twelve, the two touched and a trip to the pits resulted; the Arden Motorsport driver ending his day twentieth and last.

Nurburgring Race 1 Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME/Laps
1 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 42m17.052s
2 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse +4.154s
3 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports +9.951s
4 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports +13.466s
5 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus +15.179s
6 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing +16.999s
7 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing +18.964s
8 Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing +26.126s
9 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula +26.760s
10 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing +27.184s
11 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing +29.227s
12 Norman Nato FRA DAMS +37.671s
13 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus +40.318s
14 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing +43.477s
15 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR +46.598s
16 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX Tech 1 Racing +52.639s
17 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse +53.205s
18 Cameron Twynham GBR Comtec Racing +58.872s
19 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula +1m16.016s
20 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport +1m35.629s
RET Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 6 Laps
RET William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1 Lap