Nurburgring FR3.5: Oliver Rowland stretches lead with another win

Oliver Rowland claimed a trouble-free sixth victory of the season and eighth consecutive Formula Renault 3.5 podium in the opening race at the Nurburgring on Saturday

Nurburgring FR3.5: Oliver Rowland stretches lead with another win

The Racing Steps-backed driver led every lap from pole position, and set fastest lap, to stretch his lead in the drivers' standings over Matthieu Vaxiviere to 49 points - almost the equivalent of two victories.

"It is still a little too early to think about the title," said Rowland. "All it takes is two bad races and for Matthieu to win a couple and it's everything's equal again.

"Fortec have given me a really good car over one lap, along with Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring, this is where we have been strongest."

McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries made a bold charge away from the lights to grab second place from his starting position of fourth.

The DAMS driver matched Rowland's laptimes for much of the race, but was unable to stage a passing attempt on his former karting team-mate.

De Vries had to settle for the runner-up position, 1.2 seconds in arrears, but was comfortably ahead of a tight battle for third between Rowland's Fortec team-mate Jazeman Jaafar and title contender Vaxiviere.

Lotus Formula 1 junior driver Vaxiviere left it late in the race before committing to an overtaking manoeuvre, with a late outbraking attempt on the inside at Turn 1 two laps from home.

The black and gold car fleetingly gained the place before running wide on the exit, allowing Jaafar to cut back and reclaim his podium position.

Jaafar's result ends a run of poor reliability and misfortune, and moves the third-year FR3.5 racer ahead of Dean Stoneman into third in the overall drivers' standings.

Red Bull junior Stoneman sustained his second left-rear opening lap puncture in seven days, after contact with Roy Nissany.

Nissany also stopped at the completion of lap one to take on a replacement front wing, but both men would be early retirements.

A late red flag in qualifying was a contributing factor to Arden's drivers starting from a relatively lowly 16th and 17th. Hungaroring victor Egor Orudzhev provided some entertainment by clawing his way through the field into ninth, but team-mate Nicholas Latifi spun out at Turn 1 on lap nine in a failed bid to wrest 11th from Alfonso Celis Jr.

In a bizarre incident, Draco driver Bruno Bonifacio followed Latifi into the Turn 1 gravel when the corner was apparently under yellow flags.

The safety -car was called-out while the two cars were extricated, but Rowland shrugged off losing a 2.5s lead to make a perfect restart.

Tom Dillmann and front row starter Tio Ellinas lost out in the lap one first corner scrum and finished in fifth and sixth.

Silverstone winner Ellinas made a slightly slow initial getaway, allowing de Vries to squeeze alongside, first by the pitwall and then on the grass verge, and steal the position.

RESULTS - 23 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 42m39.609s
2 Nyck de Vries DAMS 1.239s
3 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 10.690s
4 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 11.264s
5 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 12.635s
6 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 13.540s
7 Pietro Fantin International Draco Racing 14.986s
8 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 16.188s
9 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 20.440s
10 Alfonso Celis AVF 26.499s
11 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 28.118s
12 Yu Kanamaru Pons Racing 30.844s
13 Rene Binder Pons Racing 31.401s
14 Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 37.860s
15 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 38.581s
16 Beitske Visser AVF 44.832s
- Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport Retirement
- Bruno Bonifacio International Draco Racing Retirement
- Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing Retirement
- Dean Stoneman DAMS Retirement


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Nurburgring FR3.5: Oliver Rowland grabs pole before red flag

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