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
|2||3||Jazeman Jaafar||MAL||Fortec Motorsports||+5.043s|
|4||5||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Arden Motorsport||+12.414s|
|5||4||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||+14.032s|
|6||26||Tom Dillmann||FRA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+15.104s|
|7||11||Tio Ellinas||CYP||Strakka Racing||+15.875s|
|8||12||Gustav Malja||SWE||Strakka Racing||+17.917s|
|9||1||Nyck de Vries||NED||DAMS||+19.224s|
|10||6||Egor Orudzhev||RUS||Arden Motorsport||+20.940s|
|11||10||Meindert van Buuren||NED||Lotus||+25.811s|
|12||20||Bruno Bonifacio||BRZ||International Draco Racing||+31.008s|
|13||15||Alfonso Celis Jr||MEX||AVF||+32.049s|
|14||17||Roy Nissany||ISR||Tech 1 Racing||+32.615s|
|15||25||Sean Gelael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||+44.304s|
|16||39||Philo Paz Patric Armand||INO||Pons Racing||+58.019s|
|RET||40||Roberto Merhi||ESP||Pons Racing||15 Laps|
|RET||18||Aurelien Panis||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||5 Laps|
|RET||19||Pietro Fantin||BRZ||International Draco Racing||0 Laps|