Will Stevens Finally Breaks FR3.5 Winless Run

British driver Will Stevens finally won his first ever Formula Renault 3.5 series race at Monza in a race that saw pole sitter Carlos Sainz stall on the dummy grid, and a massive crash that eliminated both Marco Sorensen and Jazeman Jaafar that necessitated the use of the safety car at the beginning of the second lap.

After dominating the weekend up to then, DAMS driver Sainz was left behind on the grid as the formation lap began. He would eventually join the race but finished three laps down on race winner Stevens. Will Buller and Luca Ghiotto both had fairly slow starts, and it was fourth place on the grid Stevens of Strakka Racing that lead into the first turn, ahead of Zeta Corse’ Roberto Merhi and Arden Motorsport’s Pierre Gasly.

At the end of the first lap, a frightening crash between Tech 1 Racing’s Sorensen and ISR’s Jaafar brought out the safety car. Sorensen appeared to pull over into Jaafar, which launched the Danish driver into a roll that ended against the pit wall. Luckily both drivers walked away from the contact, but Sorensen will serve a five-place grid-drop penalty for the second race tomorrow.

Stevens comfortably pulled away from the field to win by almost seven seconds from Merhi, and almost twelve from Gasly. Buller finished fourth, passing Comtec Racing’s Nikolay Martsenko towards the end of the race, the Russian ending up fifth. Oliver Rowland enjoyed a better race after a dismal qualifying to finish sixth in the leading Fortec Motorsport machine. Team-mate Sergey Sirotkin was classified seventh, not before Marlon Stockinger was given a post-race 25-second penalty for overtaking behind the safety car, relegating him from seventh to fourteenth.

AV Formula driver Zoel Amberg finished eighth, ahead of rookie Meindert van Buuren in the leading Pons Racing car, while the final point went to Steven’s Strakka Racing team-mate Matias Lainé.

Tomorrow will see it all start again, with qualifying in the morning followed by the race in the afternoon. But for today, it was Will Stevens’ day.

Monza Race 1 Race Result

1 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 42m23.207s
2 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse +6.870s
3 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport +11.760s
4 Will Buller GBR Arden Motorsport +17.994s
5 Nikolay Martsenko RUS Comtec Racing +18.423s
6 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsport +25.440s
7 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsport +26.398s
8 Zoel Amberg SWI AVF +31.784s
9 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing +32.391s
10 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing +32.599s
11 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing +35.580s
12 Oliver Webb GBR Pons Racing +37.675s
13 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse +47.549s
14 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus +50.943s
15 Norman Nato FRA DAMS +1m06.012s
16 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing +1 Lap
17 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus +3 Laps
18 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS +3 Laps
RET Beitske Visser NED AVF 19 Laps
RET Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1 Lap
RET Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR 1 Lap