Vaxiviere fights back to take race one victory in Spa

Matthieu Vaxiviere became the first two-time winner of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season after overcoming a slow start to pass Nicholas Latifi and take victory in race one at Spa-Francorchamps.

The French Lotus driver caught and passed the Canadian Arden Motorsport’s driver on lap six, passing around the outside of Pouhon after initially making a move on the run down to Les Combes.

It had been a chaotic opening lap of the race, with the second Lotus of Meindert van Buuren being tapped into a spin by Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Sean Gelael with the Dutchman being forced to pit lane with a puncture as a result.

Roberto Merhi was also a spinner on the opening lap, with the Pons Racing driver being spun around by one of the Tech 1 Racing drivers at Les Combes.

However the biggest incident on the opening lap saw the International Draco Racing machine of Pietro Fantin crashing heavily for the second time this weekend, hitting the barriers at the exit of Bruxelles that saw the safety car deployed.

Once the safety car returned to the pits, Vaxiviere made his move on Latifi for the lead, and was followed through on the following lap by Fortec Motorsports driver Jazeman Jaafar, although it took some wheel bashing between the Canadian and the Malaysian before Jaafar took the position. Dean Stoneman of DAMS was also in close proximity throughout that battle, and also passed Latifi at La Source on the following lap.

Stoneman held on for third despite a mistake at the Bus Stop chicane with six laps remaining, with Latifi fourth ahead of Oliver Rowland of Fortec Motorsport, who held off the challenge of Jagonya Ayam with Carlin driver Tom Dillmann until the flag.

Tio Ellinas and Gustav Malja gave Strakka Racing a double points finish in seventh and eighth, with Nyck de Vries of DAMS and Egor Orudzhev of Arden Motorsport completing the top ten.

After being excluded from qualifying, Beitske Visser did not take the start in her AVF machine, after her investors asked her to withdraw. It is not clear whether the Dutch driver will return to the car on Sunday for the second race of the weekend.

Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Result

19Matthieu VaxiviereFRALotus41m17.060s
23Jazeman JaafarMALFortec Motorsports+5.043s
32Dean StonemanGBRDAMS+11.808s
45Nicholas LatifiCANArden Motorsport+12.414s
54Oliver RowlandGBRFortec Motorsports+14.032s
626Tom DillmannFRAJagonya Ayam with Carlin+15.104s
711Tio EllinasCYPStrakka Racing+15.875s
812Gustav MaljaSWEStrakka Racing+17.917s
91Nyck de VriesNEDDAMS+19.224s
106Egor OrudzhevRUSArden Motorsport+20.940s
1110Meindert van BuurenNEDLotus+25.811s
1220Bruno BonifacioBRZInternational Draco Racing+31.008s
1315Alfonso Celis JrMEXAVF+32.049s
1417Roy NissanyISRTech 1 Racing+32.615s
1525Sean GelaelINOJagonya Ayam with Carlin+44.304s
1639Philo Paz Patric ArmandINOPons Racing+58.019s
RET40Roberto MerhiESPPons Racing15 Laps
RET18Aurelien PanisFRATech 1 Racing5 Laps
RET19Pietro FantinBRZInternational Draco Racing0 Laps
DNS16Beitske VisserNEDAVF