Merhi Takes Victory as Championship Rivals Crash Out

Roberto Merhi took his second victory of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season and moved up to second place in the championship as Carlos Sainz Jr and Oliver Rowland were eliminated in a first lap incident at the Nurburgring.

Having taken pole position in the morning, Merhi avoided the carnage that saw six drivers eliminated on the opening lap after front-row starter Oscar Tunjo of Pons Racing lightly tapped the Fortec Motorsport machine of Oliver Rowland into Carlos Sainz Jr of DAMS that took all three drivers out at the first corner. It was a shame for Sainz as he had made a great start and would have taken second had he not ended in the gravel trap.

A second incident in between turns two and three eliminated three more drivers, with Dutch female Beitske Visser of AV Formula, Finnish driver Matias Lainé of Strakka Racing and the second Pons Racing machine of Meindert van Buuren.

Once the safety car left the track to clear up the mess, Merhi controlled the race, but was never able to lose the attention of Matthieu Vaxiviere, with the Lotus driver having by far his best race of the season. The Frenchman, back on the grid after breaking a bone in his back in Monaco, finished only 1.373s behind Merhi.

Lotus had a good day as Marlon Stockinger also finished on the podium in third, and he held off the advances of Sergey Sirotkin just after the pit stops, but eventually pulled away from the Russian of Fortec Motorsports.

Zoel Amberg finished fifth for AV Formula, right on the tail of Sirotkin ahead of him, with Norman Nato of DAMS who took advantage of the carnage ahead of him to move from fourteenth up to sixth. Will Stevens was seventh for Strakka Racing ahead of Pierre Gasly, who salvaged some points after a dreadful weekend for Arden Motorsport in eighth.

Jazeman Jaafar was ninth for ISR with William Buller claiming the final point in tenth for Arden Motorsport. Debutants Cameron Twynham and Alfonso Celis Jr both finished, with Comtec Racing driver Twynham just outside the points in eleventh, and Tech 1 Racing driver Celis Jr just behind him in twelfth, ahead of his more experienced team-mate Marco Sorensen.

Sainz Jr continues to lead the championship but is now followed by fellow Spaniard Merhi, with 39 points separating the two. Gasly has slipped to third a further 15 points adrift.

Nurburgring Race 2 Result

1 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 43m22.428s
2 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus +1.373s
3 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus +12.589s
4 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports +15.515s
5 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula +16.422s
6 Norman Nato FRA DAMS +16.997s
7 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing +18.024s
8 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport +18.286s
9 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR +20.817s
10 William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport +21.697s
11 Cameron Twynham GBR Comtec Racing +25.786s
12 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX Tech 1 Racing +26.411s
13 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse +30.638s
14 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing +35.382s
15 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing +39.332s
RET Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 17 Laps
RET Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing 1 Lap
RET Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1 Lap
RET Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1 Lap
RET Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 0 Laps
RET Beitske Visser NED AV Formula 0 Laps
RET Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 0 Laps