Formula Renault 3.5: Dominant win of Oliver Rowland at Red Bull Ring
Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), leader of the Formula 3.5 Series standings, dominated Sunday’s first race at Red Bull Ring. Rowland started from pole position and kept his lead despite two safety car periods. Second was the highest place rookie Dean Stoneman (DAMS), while third on the podium was Nyck de Vries (DAMS). With his fourth win of the year Oliver Rowland now has a 33 point lead over sixth place finisher Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus).
On Saturday, Oliver Rowland took his third pole position of the season ahead of the Lotus duo of Marlon Stockinger and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Dean Stoneman and Roberto Merhi (Pons Racing) completed the top five on the starting grid. When the lights went out the pole winner held on to the lead and quickly built a gap to the DAMS pair of Dean Stoneman and Nyck de Vries. Matthieu Vaxiviere and Roberto Merhi rounded out the group of five at the sharp end of the order when the safety car was called into service following an accident involving Meindert van Buuren (Pons Racing), Alfonso Celis (AVF) and Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin).
After the re-start Rowland progressively increased his lead, but Safety Car was again deployed after Roy Nissany (Tech 1 Racing) stopped on the circuit. After one more re-start the race leader made few fastest race laps for an eight-second margin of victory over second placed Stoneman. Behind the two Englishman it was Nyck de Vries in third, followed by Roberto Merhi and Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport). Immediately after the finish line Latifi crashed into the Merhi because Spanish driver dramatically slows down.
After the race Merhi gets two penalties. First he was penalized with 10 seconds for not respecting the track limits and after that was excluded by stewards because he was quilty for crash. Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport) inherited the position with that exclusion. He was followed by Tom Dillmann (5th, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Matthieu Vaxiviere (6th), Gustav Malja (7th, Strakka Racing), Aurélien Panis (8th, Tech 1 Racing), Tio Ellinas (9th, Strakka Racing) and Jazeman Jaafar (10th, Fortec Motorsports).
Race weekend at Red Bull Ring will be finished after one more FR 3.5 race with start scheduled for 18.20 (CET).