Aleshin secures title, Guerrieri wins

Esteban Guerrieri won a fitting Formula Renault 3.5 finale at Barcelona, as Russian Mikhail Aleshin secured the title

Aleshin secures title, Guerrieri wins

In wet conditions, the Argentinean ISR man was in a league of his own, finishing 24 seconds ahead of British Formula 3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

The focus of the race was an enthralling duel between title contenders Aleshin and Daniel Ricciardo.

Starting the event equal on points, a decisive overtaking manoeuvre by Aleshin at Turn 7 sealed the championship in the Russian's favour with only two laps remaining.

Dominant winner of race one, Ricciardo tried valiantly to get back on terms with the Carlin man. On the last lap, with his strongest overtaking opportunities having passed, the Australian spun exiting the penultimate corner and was left to settle for fourth.

"I made a mistake in my pitstop, because I stopped in the wrong position," said Aleshin. "When I rejoined, I didn't think I could catch Daniel. When I did close in, I had a problem of being covered in oil from his car. I went straight on [at La Caixa] and lost some time.

"It took a while to clean the oil off the inside and outside of my visor, it was really crazy, but afterwards everything was okay. I want to thank Daniel for such an incredible fight."

Following a moderately damp qualifying session, rain intensified and necessitated a safety car start.

Fourth-qualifier Daniel Zampieri, who has scored several podiums this year in adverse conditions, spun off under pace car conditions and delayed the green for one lap further.

Once under way, Guerrieri benefitted from clear visibility to power into a comfortable lead. Ricciardo held second from Comtec's Greg Mansell, Aleshin, Vergne and the second Comtec entry of Stefano Coletti.

Aleshin opted to pit on the next lap, while Ricciardo made his mandatory tyre change on lap eight. The Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver rejoined ahead, and the pair would circulate closely for a period of time, rarely separated by more than a second.

However, in his biggest scare of the race, Aleshin would lose four seconds by locking up his front wheels and running wide at La Caixa on lap 13.

"Given how extreme the rate he closed in on me again was, perhaps I did have something leaking onto my rears," said Ricciardo. "I was putting on a drift show for the spectators, but it wasn't the fastest way around a race track."

Forced to defend his inside line into Turn 7 on lap 20, Ricciardo was powerless to stop Aleshin driving around his outside on the approach to Campsa.

"I tried to get the power on early, but I just got wheelspin," said Ricciardo. "I hope finishing second won't affect my future too much, and I hope people will recognise I have had a good rookie season. I think all the guys on the podium did a good job and should be happy.

"Jean-Eric is new to the championship and has already had quite a few podiums, so he's doing well, Esteban won more races than anyone else and Mikhail has got the main prize."

Monegasque Coletti finished fifth, two and half seconds ahead of Junior Lotus Racing's Nelson Panciatici.

Aleshin will receive his prize Renault Formula 1 test in Abu Dhabi. He will be joined by some familiar faces, as the Red Bull Junior duo of Ricciardo, sampling a Red Bull, and Jean-Eric Vergne, with Toro Rosso, are also set to be present.

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Esteban Guerrieri ISR 47m08.118s 2. Jean-Eric Vergne Tech 1 + 24.184s 3. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin + 25.231s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 + 33.971s 5. Stefano Coletti Comtec + 47.292s 6. Nelson Panciatici Junior Lotus + 49.869s 7. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP + 50.675s 8. Jan Charouz P1 + 54.782s 9. Jon Lancaster Fortec + 55.690s 10. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi + 59.947s 11. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin + 1m00.693s 12. Nathanael Berthon Draco + 1m07.031s 13. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 1m16.311s 14. Dean Stoneman Junior Lotus + 1m18.232s 15. Federico Leo Pons + 1m44.964s 16. Greg Mansell Comtec + 1m47.210s 17. Sergio Canamasas FHV Interwetten + 2m01.005s 18. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon Euskadi + 1 Lap 19. Filip Salaquarda ISR + 1 Lap Retirements: Sten Pentus Fortec 11 laps Victor Garcia KMP 11 laps Julian Leal Draco 10 laps Salvador Duran FHV Interwetten 7 laps Daniel Zampieri Pons 3 laps 
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