Esteban Guerrieri and his Czech team ISR delivered a faultless performance to take victory in a chaotic Formula Renault 3.5 race at Spa-Francorchamps
In a charging drive from 12th on the grid, the Argentinean benefited from many of his rivals receiving drivethrough penalties to seize the lead of the race on lap ten. Making his mandatory pitstop on the following tour, Guerrieri returned to the track without having lost the lead and set about extending his advantage with a series of fastest laps.
The result was a marked turnaround for ISR following disappointment on Saturday, when neither of its cars made the start after Guerrieri crashed in qualifying and team-mate Filip Salaquarda's car had an oil leak.
Front row starter Daniel Zampieri took second place, despite having being one of 10 drivers to receive drivethrough penalties for changing tyres on the grid after the appearance of the three minute board. The Italian Formula 3 champion staged a remarkable recovery from near the back of the field to close within 3.3s of the winner at the chequered flag as Guerrieri backed off with tyre concerns.
Another to be delayed by a drivethrough, Stefano Coletti repeated his Saturday result of third. The Monegasque stole the position around the outside of championship leader Mikhail Aleshin at Stavelot on the penultimate lap.
The start of this afternoon's race was delayed following a sudden outbreak of torrential rain and hail just moments after the field had set off on their formation lap. A drying, preceding, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race had tempted several drivers, including Albert Costa, Daniil Move, Aleshin, Walter Grubmuller and Nelson Pantiatici to have slick tyres fitted, a bold decision given that the feature race would allow mandatory pitstops to be made from lap five.
Polesitter Jake Rosenzweig gingerly set the pace on the formation lap, with negligible spray being emitted from the Michelins on the run up to Les Combes. For a fleeting moment it appeared as if the conditions could play into the hands of the gamblers, but by the time the field had arrived at the Fagnes and Stavelot corners at the back of circuit, a ferocious hail storm had descended on the Ardennes, resulting in a delayed start.
The second start was made behind the safety car, with Rosenzweig confirming his wet weather flair by opening a 4.8s lead on Zampieri in the space of three laps. British Formula 3 champion Daniel Ricciardo held third position at this stage, ahead of Anton Nebylitskiy, Jon Lancaster and Coletti.
As Rosenzweig pitted from the lead on lap six, official notification came through that he, Brendon Hartley, Coletti, Nebylitskiy, Lancaster, Zampieri, Ricciardo, Nathanael Berthon, Greg Mansell and Jan Charouz would all be penalised for grid infringements.
A late-race trip through the gravel at Rivage would slow Rosenzweig down further, and he finished eighth.
Ricciardo would have an off-track moment at Les Combes on lap 13, but the British Formula 3 champion held off Hartley by two seconds to take fifth place and claim the in-house honours at Tech 1 Racing.
Aleshin now extends his series lead with 38 points, ten ahead of Ricciardo and with Fortec's Sten Pentus a further one point adrift.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Esteban Guerrieri ISR 45m25.474s 2. Daniel Zampieri Pons + 3.308s 3. Stefano Coletti Comtec + 17.157s 4. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin + 18.315s 5. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 + 21.921s 6. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 + 24.169s 7. Jon Lancaster Fortec + 35.816s 8. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin + 38.695s 9. Jan Charouz P1 + 50.759s 10. Nathanael Berthon Draco + 51.363s 11. Bruno Mendez Interwetten + 53.131s 12. Julian Leal Draco + 55.256s 13. Sten Pentus Fortec + 1m10.006s 14. Greg Mansell Comtec + 1m10.523s 15. Filip Salaquarda ISR + 1m17.824s 16. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon Euskadi + 1m19.350s 17. Federico Leo Pons + 1m22.911s 18. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 1m37.894s 19. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi + 1m38.311s 20. Daniil Move Junior Lotus + 2m25.345s Retirements: Nelson Panciatici Junior Lotus 13 laps Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 10 laps Sergio Canamasas Interwetten 7 laps Victor Garcia KMP 0 laps
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