Jazeman Jaafar took his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series victory in Monaco in a race marred by a big crash that saw the race interrupted by a red flag after just two completed laps.
Meindert van Buuren and Bruno Bonifacio collided heading into Saint Devote, with the Lotus driver’s car mounting the International Draco Racing driver’s car, propelling both into the barriers at high speed.
Bonfacio’s car took the biggest hit against the barrier whereas van Buuren’s car bounced up and landed half on top of the tyres. Both drivers were able to get out of their cars unaided, but Bonifacio was attended to trackside and was taken away on a stretcher wearing a neck brace.
The race was halted while he was attended too and the debris cleared up. The race had already seen a first lap first corner crash that eliminated Matthieu Vaxiviere in the second Lotus and the Strakka Racing machines of Gustav Malja and Tio Ellinas, while delaying other frontrunners including championship leader Oliver Rowland and Nyck de Vries.
The safety car had already been deployed to the track to enable the clear up of the crashed AVF machine of Alfonso Celis Jr in the Swimming Pool complex before Bonifacio and van Buuren’s clash.
Fortec Motorsports driver and pole sitter Jaafar avoided the carnage to lead away at the start, and controlled the restart perfectly to take his maiden victory in the series, while DAMS driver Dean Stoneman took second place after also taking advantage of the troubles ahead of him at the start.
The podium was completed by Jagonya Ayam with Carlin’s Tom Dillmann, with the Frenchman finishing ahead of Russian Egor Orudzhev of Arden Motorsport, while Pietro Fantin in the second International Draco Racing entry completed the top five.
Rowland recovered superbly after the red flag, climbing through the order and making a number of impressive overtaking manoeuvres to finish sixth, although this position is in doubt as there is confusion about whether the Briton lost a lap the start following a visit to the pit lane to replace a punctured tyre. Despite this, he was closing on Fantin ahead of him at a rapid pace but ran out of laps to catch and pass the Brazilian.
Nevertheless the Racing Steps Foundation driver can be proud of his efforts, especially with his closest rival pre-race in the championship Vaxiviere failing to finish. Rowland passed Beitske Visser at Mirabeau, Roy Nissany at Rascasse, Philo Paz Patric Armand at the Nouvelle Chicane, Alex Fontana at Mirabeau, Sean Gelael at the chicane and then finally Aurélien Panis at the Swimming Pool.
Panis took his first points in Formula Renault 3.5 with seventh for the Tech 1 Racing team, finishing ahead of Gelael of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin who likewise secured his first points of the year.
Fontana, on his series debut as a replacement driver in the Pons Racing team this weekend for Roberto Merhi who is racing for the Manor F1 Team in Formula 1, was ninth, ahead of DAMS driver de Vries, another driver to be held up at the first corner.
The final two finishers were the second Pons Racing machine of Armand and Tech 1 Racing’s Nissany.
Monaco Race Result
|1||3||Jazeman Jaafar||MAL||Fortec Motorsports||21 Laps|
|3||26||Tom Dillmann||FRA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+6.327s|
|4||6||Egor Orudzhev||RUS||Arden Motorsport||+8.580s|
|5||19||Pietro Fantin||BRZ||International Draco Racing||+10.025s|
|6||4||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||+13.594s|
|7||18||Aurelien Panis||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+28.017s|
|8||25||Sean Gelael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+30.090s|
|9||40||Alex Fontana||SWI||Pons Racing||+34.024s|
|10||1||Nyck de Vries||NED||DAMS||+38.849s|
|11||39||Philo Paz Patric Armand||INO||Pons Racing||+46.733s|
|12||17||Roy Nissany||ISR||Tech 1 Racing||+1m11.789s|
|RET||16||Beitske Visser||NED||AVF||16 Laps|
|RET||5||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Arden Motorsport||13 Laps|
|RET||11||Tio Ellinas||CYP||Strakka Racing||2 Laps|
|RET||20||Bruno Bonifacio||BRZ||International Draco Racing||2 Laps|
|RET||10||Meindert van Buuren||NED||Lotus||1 Lap|
|RET||15||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||AVF||1 Lap|
|RET||9||Matthieu Vaxiviere||FRA||Lotus||0 Laps|
|RET||12||Gustav Malja||SWE||Strakka Racing||0 Laps|