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
|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|
|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|
|14||Meindert van Buuren||NED||Pons Racing||+43.477s|
|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|