Egor Orudzhev: “This was the hardest day of my life”


Egor Orudzhev took his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 Series victory at the Hungaroring during Saturday’s opening race, jumping into the lead at the first corner having qualified second and holding off a gaggle of cars until the chequered flag.

The SMP Racing-backed Arden Motorsport driver moved ahead of pole sitter Oliver Rowland heading into the first corner, and then held the Fortec Motorsports driver behind him until the end of the race.

The Russian driver, who stepped up into the series having raced in the supporting Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series in 2014, was delighted to have had such a strong performance in Hungary, even if he admitted he was exhausted at the conclusion of the race.

“On the Friday practice sessions we were trying out new brakes so it was just getting used to these and I also tried to work on my driving,” said Orudzhev. “This worked well as we were competitive in the first two sectors, just needing to work on the third.

“For qualifying I tried to concentrate on not making any mistakes and improving on the last part of the track, which worked really well at the end so we finished 2nd.

“Race one I got a good start and then just held the lead until the end. I got tired and also the tyre degradation didn’t help but I managed to defend well and I get my first victory in 3.5 series.

“I think that this was the hardest day of my life! I got a great start, but throughout the race, I was being pressured by Oliver, who is an excellent driver. It wasn’t easy!

“I could see how close he was in my rear-view mirrors, there was no rest and I am completely destroyed, which is something I’ve never felt before! In qualifying, the car was extraordinary and the start was really the key. We have the pace to keep this momentum going.”

Despite having another strong qualifying session on Sunday for race two, the Russian driver could not emulate his Saturday performance, losing ground after a misjudgement of his braking point at turn one and dropping outside the top ten.

“Sunday’s qualifying was even better than the day before,” revealed Orudzhev. “Everything went perfect. I just made on small mistake on one of corners that cost us pole in the end, but was happy enough with finishing the session second.

“The second race was difficult; I didn’t make a good start, so lost my place and then I misjudged my breaking point into turn one on the cold brakes so ran wide. After that, the race was more or less over for us.

“We would have been [in the] points but Dean Stoneman (DAMS) got it wrong out of a pit lane after his pit stop, touched me into turn one so I had to go wide.

“It was still a very positive weekend, as we made big improvements in our qualifying pace, so I am looking forward to Red Bull Ring to try to do a better job.“