Formula Renault 3.5 Series: 1-2 victory for Strakka Racing at wet Nürburgring
Strakka Racing scored a double victory in Formula Renault 3.5 Series race today at Nürburgring. Under changeable weather conditions Tio Ellinas and Gustav Malja showed the best combination of speed, skill and strategy to achieve an epic double victory for their team. Nyck de Vries (DAMS) finished third and scored his second podium this weekend, after yesterday’s 2nd place.
Championship leader Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) started from pole and finished only tenth, but even with that one point he increased the gap in front of second placed Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus), who finished 11th.
Race was exciting even before the start, because of tough decisions which tires to choose. Track was wet, but without rain, so some teams took slick tires and predicted that the track will be dry enough later for slicks. Oliver Rowland was one of the drivers with slicks. He had a bad start and lost a few places before Turn 1. After Turn 1 he spun and fell to the back of the field.
Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing), who started from 2nd place, took the lead. He was also on slicks. Prediction for drying track was good and drivers with slick tires were faster, so Rowland climbed to third place until Lap 5. After pit window for mandatory pit stops was opened, all drivers with rain tires made a change on slicks. In Lap 6 Aurelien Panis (Tech 1 Racing) stopped in Turn 1 and Safety Car was called out.
Safety Car intervention ruined the big gap of 13 seconds which Fantin had ahead of the second placed driver. After the restart he remained in the lead, but mandatory pit stop in Lap 18 demoted him to sixth place. He finished fourth but was penalized later for not respecting the pit window and dropped to ninth.
Ellinas, Malja and Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport) took leading places after all pit stops, but weather conditions made a few last laps extra exciting. Slight rain and fog made the track wet, all drivers had slick tires, resulting in lap times changing from average 1.44min to 2.12min.
Orudzhev spun in the last lap and lost third podium spot. He fell to sixth, behind Nyck de Vries, Pietro Fantin and Alfonso Celis Jr. (AV Formula). Rowland also had a spin, but he earned at least one point for 10th place. His main championship rival Vaxiviere lost a few places in last lap and finished without points. Other point finishers are Dean Stoneman (7th, DAMS), Marlon Stockinger (8th, Lotus) and Rene Binder (9th, Pons Racing).
Check all the results at SnapLap result pages.
Photos: World Series by Renault/Renault Sport