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Jerez Formula Renault 3.5: McLaren protege de Vries gets first win

McLaren protege Nyck de Vries claimed his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 victory in the category's last race on the World Series by Renault package at Jerez

The DAMS racer made a superb start from third to pass front row man Matthieu Vaxiviere for second away from the lights.

De Vries found himself in the lead before the completion of the opening lap, when poleman Oliver Rowland clipped the inside kerb at Turn 12 and speared across the gravel on the exit of the corner.

Rowland resumed in fourth, behind Egor Orudzhev and Vaxiviere, but the race was neutralised moments later following an incident for rookie Nikita Zlobin, who stranded his Pons car in the gravel at Turn 14.

Also in the wars on the opening lap were Dean Stoneman and fifth-qualifier Alfonso Celis Jr.

The Mexican appeared to make a slightly slow getaway and Red Bull junior Stoneman bumped wheels attempting to negotiate the AVF car on a congested grid, leading to both drivers' retirement.

Stoneman had entered the weekend third in the drivers' standings, and leading rookie, but following Sunday's result that position has now been secured by the Briton's DAMS team-mate de Vries.

The early laps were enlivened by Lotus F1 junior Vaxiviere's spirited attempts to pass Orudzhev, but the battle ended in minor contact at Turn 1 just after half-distance.

Vaxiviere had squeezed fully alongside Orudzhev's inside when the slight swipe occurred, and the impact was sufficient to give the Russian Arden driver a front-left puncture.

Rowland had opted to take his mandatory pitstop a lap before the incident, and used the undercut to come out fractionally ahead of Vaxiviere after the Frenchman made his own tyre change.

De Vries benefited from the Rowland and Vaxiviere fight to extend a 10.2-second lead, and appeared to be cruising to victory when the safety car was required for a second time with seven laps left.

The interruption was caused when Tech 1 Racing's Roy Nissany lost control and crashed at Turn 1 when his left rear tyre deflated, possibly after being hit by Andre Negrao.

De Vries kept his composure on the restart and pulled out a 2.5s margin of victory.

Rowland held off Vaxiviere by 0.075s in a climax reminiscent of the 1986 Spanish Grand Prix photo-finish between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell at the same venue.

Double 2015 winner Tio Ellinas was fourth for Strakka, while team-mate Gustav Malja kept a train of cars at bay in his mirrors to complete the top five.

RESULTS - 24 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Nyck de Vries DAMS 41m36.996s
2 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 2.509s
3 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 2.584s
4 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 4.084s
5 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 13.411s
6 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 14.197s
7 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 14.646s
8 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 15.024s
9 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 15.650s
10 Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 16.553s
11 Yu Kanamaru Pons Racing 16.853s
12 Andre Negrao International Draco Racing 16.959s
13 Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 17.611s
14 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 26.844s
- Beitske Visser AVF Retirement
- Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing Retirement
- Alfonso Celis AVF Retirement
- Dean Stoneman DAMS Retirement
- Nikita Zlobin Pons Racing Retirement

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Oliver Rowland 307
2 Matthieu Vaxiviere 234
3 Nyck de Vries 160
4 Tio Ellinas 135
5 Egor Orudzhev 133
6 Dean Stoneman 130
7 Tom Dillmann 122
8 Jazeman Jaafar 118
9 Gustav Malja 79
10 Pietro Fantin 61
11 Nicholas Latifi 55
12 Aurelien Panis 42
13 Roy Nissany 27
14 Roberto Merhi 26
15 Meindert van Buuren 20
16 Alfonso Celis 17
17 Marlon Stockinger 14
18 Yu Kanamaru 9
19 Sean Gelael 7
20 Nick Yelloly 6
21 Andre Negrao 4
22 Rene Binder 4
23 Beitske Visser 3
24 Alex Fontana 2
25 Bruno Bonifacio 1
26 Philo Paz Armand 1

TEAMS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Team Points
1 Fortec Motorsports 425
2 DAMS 290
3 Lotus 274
4 Strakka Racing 214
5 Arden Motorsport 188
6 Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 129
7 Tech 1 Racing 69
8 International Draco Racing 66
9 Pons Racing 42
10 AVF 20


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