Nurburgring FR3.5: Tio Ellinas wins second race in mixed conditions

Tio Ellinas and Strakka Racing mastered demanding and fluctuating track conditions to take their second Formula Renault 3.5 victory in seven days at the Nurburgring

Nurburgring FR3.5: Tio Ellinas wins second race in mixed conditions

The Silverstone winner led home team-mate Gustav Malja by 2.2 seconds in an enthralling finish in which the pair bobbed and jostled for the lead - even swapping positions on the penultimate lap.

The one-two for Strakka appeared unlikely during the opening laps, as both Ellinas and Malja required lengthy stops to replace nosecones damaged in contact with championship leader Oliver Rowland.

"The race was all over the place," said Ellinas.

"None of the teams knew which tyres to fit at the start. I chose slicks and made a good start to go from fifth to third, but then I hit Ollie and broke my front wing.

"When I came in, I also had a problem with the left-rear so I thought it's all finished for today. Then I started to push.

"At the end, Gustav was using different lines on slicks on a wet track to catch me. I tried to copy him, then keep my cool when he overtook me, and tried to re-pass. It was very, very tense."

A drained Malja was happy with his podium, despite coming tantalisingly close to a breakthrough maiden FR3.5 win.

"The last laps driving this car on slicks in the rain, fighting for my first win with my team-mate, they were easily the most intense in my whole career in racing," said the Swede.

McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries negotiated the changeable weather, which contributed to havoc for pit strategists, to take the final place on the podium for DAMS.

"I don't know how I got here," said de Vries, who started from eighth.

"I thought wets would be stronger at the start, but I was wrong. I could have come in earlier, but didn't want to get involved in any damage in the jam in the pitlane, so stayed out an extra lap.

"I'd say I was extremely lucky that I did come in a lap before the safety car."

The race started on a circuit that was largely dry but had damp patches, prompting a variety of tyres choices on the grid. The track did eventually dry out, only for rain to fall heavily four laps from the end of the 22-lap event.

Saturday race one winner Rowland on pole opted for slicks on the grid, and consequently made a slow start relative to the wet-shod runners. Rowland was turned around by Ellinas on the exit of Turn 1 and spun to the rear of the field.

The championship leader fought back to third, but Rowland's race was compromised by not choosing to pit before the appearance of the safety car on lap six and the Briton achieved a solitary point for 10th.

The safety car was called out when Tech 1 racer Aurelien Panis stopped at Turn 1 after making his mandatory pitstop on lap five, and a crane was required to remove the Frenchman's abandoned car.

Front-row starter Pietro Fantin led the bulk of the race, but was the last to come in on lap 18. Like Rowland, title challenger Matthieu Vaxiviere and Red Bull Junior Dean Stoneman, Fantin pitted after the safety car and therefore lost his shot at victory.

The Brazilian salvaged fourth at the line but was handed a 20-second penalty for coming in a lap after the pit window closed, which dropped him to ninth.

Fourth was therefore taken by Alfonso Celis Jr, up from 16th, and Hungaroring winner Egor Orudzhev who completed the top five.

RESULTS - 22 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 42m32.506s
2 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 2.240s
3 Nyck de Vries DAMS 4.430s
4 Alfonso Celis AVF 11.016s
5 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 14.109s
6 Dean Stoneman DAMS 17.793s
7 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 21.187s
8 Rene Binder Pons Racing 23.461s
9 Pietro Fantin International Draco Racing 29.803s
10 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 30.240s
11 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 34.088s
12 Bruno Bonifacio International Draco Racing 35.926s
13 Yu Kanamaru Pons Racing 37.609s
14 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 40.166s
15 Beitske Visser AVF 51.188s
16 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m24.729s
17 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 1 Lap
18 Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 1 Lap
- Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing Retirement
- Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Oliver Rowland 235
2 Matthieu Vaxiviere 185
3 Nyck de Vries 116
4 Jazeman Jaafar 106
5 Dean Stoneman 106
6 Tio Ellinas 96
7 Tom Dillmann 89
8 Gustav Malja 67
9 Egor Orudzhev 66
10 Pietro Fantin 61
11 Nicholas Latifi 42
12 Roberto Merhi 26
13 Aurelien Panis 24
14 Roy Nissany 21
15 Meindert van Buuren 20
16 Alfonso Celis 17
17 Marlon Stockinger 14
18 Nick Yelloly 6
19 Sean Gelael 5
20 Rene Binder 4
21 Beitske Visser 3
22 Alex Fontana 2
23 Bruno Bonifacio 1
24 Philo Paz Armand 1


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Nurburgring FR3.5: Oliver Rowland takes pole again for race two

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