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FV8 3.5 NEWS 

Robert Wickens retakes Formula Renault 3.5 points lead with Silverstone victory

Robert Wickens wins at SilverstonePolesitter Robert Wickens claimed his third victory of the season at Silverstone this afternoon. The result moves the Carlin racer back to the head of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers' standings.

The Canadian committed a couple of small errors in the initial stages of the low-downforce race, notably running off the road at Turn 11 on lap two, before settling into a composed rhythm.

Fortec's Alexander Rossi harried Wickens over the first half of the race, but the American's challenge faded with overheating rear tyres. Third-starter Daniel Ricciardo took advantage to pass Rossi for second into Village on lap 20. The battle allowed Wickens to make a three second break at the head of the field, which the former GP3 Series runner-up nursed to the chequered flag.

"Once Alexander and Daniel started fighting, I was quite grateful," said Wickens. "When the gap was 0.5s to a second I was comfortable, but I knew any small error would cost me the lead. But with a three second advantage I could almost cruise to the end."

ISR's Ricciardo recorded a succession of fastest laps towards the climax of the race, to close the margin of victory to 1.3s. The Perth racer was relieved to bounce back from a poor weekend at the Hungaroring in which he failed to register a score.

"A close second feels like a win," said Ricciardo. "Budapest was a disaster by our standards. I thought I was in for a boring race when Alexander and Robert pulled away at the start, but perhaps my tyres cooled down in clean air because it's very unusual to be set fastest lap in this series only one or two laps before the end."

Ricciardo's ISR team-mate Nathanael Berthon took a closely contested fourth place ahead of Epic Racing's Albert Costa and a very strong debut performance from Pons Racing's Nick Yelloly.

Athough the trio held grid order throughout, Costa briefly pulled alongside Berthon around the outside of Luffield on lap three.

Championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a troubled afternoon, and was unable to start from his seventh place grid slot. The Frenchman's Carlin car failed to engage first gear on the grid and was pushed into the pitlane.

From last, the Red Bull Junior driver recovered to 13th at the finish, but is under investigation as a mechanic was attending his machine, attempting to rock the car backwards and forwards, as the rest of the field embarked on their formation lap.

As a consequence of Vergne's non-score, Wickens opens up a 21 point lead in the drivers' championship. Rossi moves ahead of Tech 1 Racing's Kevin Korjus into third, some 57 points behind Wickens.

Results - 26 laps:

Pos  Driver             Team                Time/Gap
 1.  Robert Wickens     Carlin            47m12.720s
 2.  Daniel Ricciardo   ISR                 + 1.335s
 3.  Alexander Rossi    Fortec              + 4.425s
 4.  Nathanael Berthon  ISR                + 13.965s
 5.  Albert Costa       EPIC               + 15.202s
 6.  Nick Yelloly       Pons               + 19.278s
 7.  Sten Pentus        EPIC               + 20.677s
 8.  Oliver Webb        Pons               + 21.183s
 9.  Kevin Korjus       Tech 1             + 21.753s
10.  Walter Grubmuller  P1                 + 25.885s
11.  Sergio Canamasas   BVM Target         + 26.196s
12.  Jake Rosenzweig    Mofaz              + 31.261s
13.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Carlin             + 31.879s
14.  Daniil Move        P1                 + 34.063s
15.  Jan Charouz        Gravity-Charouz    + 35.415s
16.  Anton Nebylitskiy  KMP                + 36.561s
17.  Arthur Pic         Tech 1             + 44.439s
18.  Daniel McKenzie    Comtec             + 46.990s
19.  Daniel de Jong     Comtec             + 56.970s
20.  Stephane Richelmi  Draco            + 1m02.310s
21.  Nelson Panciatici  KMP                 + 2 laps
22.  Brendon Hartley    Gravity-Charouz     + 3 laps

Retirements:

     Cesar Ramos        Fortec               21 laps
     Fairuz Fauzy       Mofaz                20 laps
     Daniel Zampieri    BVM Target           14 laps
     Andre Negrao       Draco                 7 laps
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