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Austin Formula V8 3.5: Orudzhev wins while Fittipaldi crashes

Egor Orudzhev played pit strategy to perfection as he took victory in the second Formula V8 3.5 race of the weekend at Austin, while championship leader Pietro Fittipaldi crashed out

SMP Racing/AVF driver Orudzhev was on the offensive from the start as he went round the outside of Fittipaldi at Turn 1 to claim second place and put pressure on polesitter Alex Palou.

The Teo Martin Motorsport driver kept his lead during the opening stages of the 40-minute race with Orudzhev happy to wait for an opportunity to pass Palou rather than pushing his tyres too hard.

Fittipaldi, who came into the second race with an 18-point lead in the championship, tried to challenge Orudzhev in the early running but he locked his brakes going into Turn 1, ran through the gravel and hit the barrier.

Brake failure caused Fittipaldi's Austin crash

At the front of the field, Palou pitted with 27 minutes still remaining but Orudzhev waited until the halfway mark to make his own mandatory stop and his quicker in-lap allowed him to come out 0.1 seconds ahead.

Palou did try to pressure Orudzhev into making a mistake but he absorbed the pressure and started to build a gap that extended to 5.4s by the chequered flag.

Behind the lead pair Diego Menchaca claimed his first podium of the season, his Fortec car having had an engine change overnight after being down on power in race one.

Menchaca was behind championship contender Matevos Isaakyan going into the final 10 minutes, but a great outbraking move at the end of the back-straight gave him third place.

The race got worse for Isaakyan, who was looking to take advantage of Fittipaldi's retirement to close the gap in the championship, as he outbraked himself at the end of the long back straight on the penultimate lap and allowed Roy Nissany to move up to fourth.

Isaakyan then tangled with Konstantin Tereschenko and fell to sixth, with Alfonso Celis Jr moving up to fifth.

Tereschenko, who damaged his car in the incident, fell to seventh ahead of Yu Kanamaru.

Race one winner Rene Binder finishing a lap down in 10th, behind Giuseppe Cipriani, after his car's engine stalled as the grid set off on the formation lap.

Race two result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Egor Orudzhev SMP Racing by AVF 23 43m42.573s
2 Alex Palou Teo Martin Motorsport 23 5.418s
3 Diego Menchaca Fortec Motorsports 23 22.194s
4 Roy Nissany RP Motorsport 23 42.044s
5 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports 23 45.063s
6 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing by AVF 23 52.896s
7 Yu Kanamaru RP Motorsport 23 1m48.790s
8 Konstantin Tereschenko Teo Martin Motorsport 23 2m01.104s
9 Giuseppe Cipriani Il Barone Rampante 22 1 Lap
10 Rene Binder Lotus 22 1 Lap
- Pietro Fittipaldi Lotus 3 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Pietro Fittipaldi 223
2 Matevos Isaakyan 213
3 Egor Orudzhev 198
4 Alfonso Celis 192
5 Rene Binder 174
6 Roy Nissany 174
7 Yu Kanamaru 95
8 Konstantin Tereschenko 88
9 Diego Menchaca 84
10 Alex Palou 68
11 Nelson Mason 42
12 Damiano Fioravanti 36
13 Giuseppe Cipriani 21


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