FR3.5 title contenders fight hard at Silverstone

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Formula Renault 3.5 championship contenders Oliver Rowland and Mathieu Vaxiviere went wheel-to-wheel in both of last weekend’s races at Silverstone.

Meanwhile two enormous crashes in one of the supporting Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup races – one involving Force India-backed driver Jehan Daruvala – brought the red flags out.

Elsewhere BTCC returnees Motorbase took a win at Rockingham while NASCAR, World Rallycross and EuroFormula Open served up more action.

Formula Renault 3.5

Round 6: Silverstone, Great Britain

Tio Ellinas kept the title contenders from pole position in race one and dominated proceedings to take victory. Points leader Rowland fell behind Vaxiviere in the early stages but muscled past his rival later on and also demoted team mate Jazeman Jaafar on his way to second place. Vaxiviere had to settle for third.

Vaxiviere set a scorching pace in qualifying for race two – lapping over half a second quicker than Rowland, who he shared the front row with. Having kept his lead at the start Vaxiviere pulled away but the mandatory pit stops proved his undoing. Fortec got Rowland out more quickly than Lotus were able to service Vaxiviere, who was also briefly delayed behind Pietro Fantin.

A Safety Car period temporarily blunted Vaxiviere’s attempt to get back on terms with Rowland, but when the race resumed the pair went at it hard for several laps. However Rowland saw off the thread from his rival and took the win, his fifth of the year. Pietro Fantin was on the podium for the first time since last year, and Red Bull’s Dean Stoneman had to settle for fourth. McLaren-backed driver Nyck de Vries collected a grid penalty for this weekend’s round after tangling with Bruno Bonifacio.

Next race: Nurburgring, Germany (12th-13th September)

British Touring Car Championship

Round 8: Rockingham

After taking his first pole position for six years – and Motorbase’s first in the series – Mat Jackson scorched to victory in the opening race at Rockingham ahead of Gordon Shedden and Aron Smith. Championship leader Jason Plato finished two laps down after early contact.

Shedden continued the charge in race two as he reversed the result from the opener, while Josh Cook stole third from Adam Morgan on the final corner for his maiden podium. Plato recovered to seventh while Tom Ingram finished tenth and earned reverse grid pole for race three.

Ingram fought valiantly in the final race of the day, but Plato proved too strong as he took a win to limit the damage in the championship. Reigning champion Colin Turkington finished third but is now 33 points off of new title leader Shedden. Plato is now six points adrift with Matt Neal third, 27 points off of the lead with two rounds remaining.

Note: The video above is from qualifying as race highlights are not yet available.

Next race: Silverstone (27th September)

Formula Three

Round 9: Algarve

A pair of victories for Felix Rosenqvist allowed him to open up a 34.5 point lead over Antonio Giovinazzi, who failed to finish higher than eighth in any of the three races at Portugal’s Algarve circuit. Jake Dennis enjoyed a strong weekend with a win and two second places, closing the gap to third-placed Charles Leclerc in the points standings.

EuroFormula Open

Round 6: Spa, Belgium

The EuroFormula Open title fight is in its latter stages. In race one, RP Motorsport driver Vitor Baptista took a dominant victory ahead of Konstantin Tereschenko in second for Campos. Leonardo Pulcini took third and with it the rookie victory after a brilliant overtake to pass Tanart Sathienthirakul who ended up in fifth, while Yu Kanumaru came from 8th on the grid to salvage fourth and minimise the damage in the drivers championship.

Baptista was in the same form in race two, securing a lights-to-flag win ahead of Tereschenko to take the championship lead from the Russian. Polish driver Igor Walilko took his best ever result and debut podium with third.

Next race: Monza, Italy (3rd-4th October)

World Rallycross Championship

Round 9: Loheac, France

Timmy Hansen took his second consecutive World Rallycross victory to cut Petter Solberg’s championship lead yet further, although the reigning champion limited the damage with second place.

Hansen was able to save fresh tyres for the semi-final, meaning fresher tyres than his rivals for the final too, and it duly paid off. Sweden winner Matias Ekstrom was in contention, but collided with Johan Kristoffersson at the first corner and spun out. Robin Larsson retired with technical problems mid-race while local hero Jean-Baptiste Dubourg pressured Solberg all the way to the line. WTCC racer Yvan Muller was also in action and showed well, but was spun out of heat two, ruling him out of the final.

Next race: Barcelona, Spain (19th-20th September)


Round 25: Darlington Raceway

Retro car liveries and television graphics were the order of the day at NASCAR’s ‘Throwback’ 500-mile race at Darlington. After a record number of caution periods Carl Edwards came from two laps down to claim his second win of the season.

Next race: Richmond International Raceway (12th September)

Guest series: Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Round 4: Silverstone, Great Britain

Season-long Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup points leader Louis Deletraz saw his advantage slashed to a single point over the course of three races at Silverstone. But that was far from the most dramatic development of the weekend.

Ferdinand Habsburg, a guest driver in the championship, was extraordinarily fortunate to escape serious injury when his car was launched high in the air after hitting Fortec team mate Ben Barnicoat on the first lap of racing action. Barnicoat and the drivers ahead of him had slowed due to the deployment of the Safety Car due to an earlier tangle between Barnicoat and a third Fortec driver – Force India’s 16-year-old karting graduate Jehan Daruvala.

When the race resumed Jack Aitken became the first of three of Deletraz’s rivals to take victory, and was followed later in the weekend by Kevin Jorg and Anthoine Hubert.

Next race: Nurburgring, Germany (12th-13th September)

Also last weekend

Lewis Hamilton eased to victory in the Italian Grand Prix and stretched his championship lead as team mate Nico Rosberg retired from third with two laps to go.

Despite not winning either of the weekend’s GP2 races, two podium finishes moved McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne within reach of the title, and it’s likely he’ll take it at the next round in Russia. Alexander Rossi won the feature race with Mitch Evans taking sprint race honours by passing Arthur Pic on the last lap.

The latter capped a remarkable turnaround for Evans who had been thrown to the back of the grid in the feature race, having originally qualified second, due to a tyre pressure infringement. Hamilton was cleared following a similar investigation after the grand prix, leading Evans to ironically complain: “Love that consistency. Can I have my front row back then please?”

Luca Ghiotto continued his run of pole positions in GP3, taking his fifth from six attempts this season, but threw it away when he stalled on the grid. Emil Bernstorff took the win after an incredible late race charge.

Marvin Kirchhofer won the sprint race on Sunday morning while Ghiotto recovered to take third, minimising the damage that main rival Esteban Ocon could inflict. The ART driver added twice more to his collection of second place finishes – he now has seven in a row.

Over to you

Which of these races did you watch, and what did you enjoy? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend there is Formula Renault 3.5, Super Formula, DTM, WTCC, V8 Supercars, NASCAR and WRC, where Sebastien Ogier looks set to take his third consecutive championship title.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@mathers) for contributing to this article.

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10 comments on “FR3.5 title contenders fight hard at Silverstone”

  1. FlyingLobster27
    7th September 2015, 15:39

    A friend of mine was so bored by the Italian GP, he started texting me. XD I said “not watching F1 [I’m in France and not paying for Canal+ just for that], I’m enjoying the SRO (Blancpain) Sprint Series!” So he joined in after the checkered flag at Monza, just as the Safety Car pulled in at Portimao, and I think he got more action with this 15-car grid (admittedly a disappointing low car count) in the next 25 minutes than the whole F1 race! A mass pit stop call, Brazilian BMWs being a nuisance, Nick Catsburg driving the wheels off the Lamborghini… Plus he got to discover the Portuguese track, he’d never seen it before, and the sight of the cars diving downhill out of turn 15 was wonderful! The only downer was that the title race didn’t close up. There was hope for it after the qualifying race on Saturday, but a bad pit stop meant the HTP Bentley finished fourth, while the series leaders, Frijns/Vanthoor, got back to their winning ways.

    At the same track, the European F3 Championship was on aswell, with Prema Powerteam wiping the floor, putting Felix Rosenqvist back in pole position for the title, and some superb track limits abuse by Sam McLeod in race 3: he drove clean through the cones at unabated speed at the first chicane!
    I’m surprised the European F3 isn’t reported here, I believe it usually is. Accidental omission, @bradley13?

    1. Sorry about that – the footage of the last F3 race is in there now.

  2. FlyingLobster27
    7th September 2015, 15:44

    Damn, those crashes in Eurocup Renault 2.0 were scary though!

    1. The Habsburg crash was astonishing. Never seen a car take off after hitting another like that! Here’s my commentary on it as it happened:

      Barnicoat, who he hit, later spun away third place on the last lap of the third race:

      1. @keithcollantine I’ve always thought that commentating on a big accident must be the hardest part of the job.
        Unlike those of us at home you can’t just wait and see if they’re ok or shout out.
        That was a strange accident though, from the camera angle it looked like it went straight up.

        1. @glynh Exactly, and of course you don’t want to mis-identify them and have anyone worrying unnecessarily. I wasn’t 100% sure it was him – another driver was in that car earlier in the year – so I waited to cross-check the number against the entry list before saying who it was.

          The one that really caught me out this year was the Merhi/Latifi crash at the Red Bull Ring, as normally once the chequered flag is out you expect the action is over!

    2. Reminds me of a fatal F3 crash at Fuji in 1997 (?) when someone was launched into the bridge at the main straight. Thankfully the speeds were a bit slower this time and there was no bridge to crash into.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        7th September 2015, 17:15

        I didn’t know of/remember that crash. I’ve found the name: Takashi Yokoyama, and you were right, it was Fuji in JF3 in 1997.

        Habsburg was super fortunate. My first thought when he landed was “his back!”

  3. The edited version of the second Formula Renault 3.5 race doesn’t do justice to how good that battle between Rowland and Vaxiviere was. Before the Safety Car came out and after Vaxiviere was building the pressure on Rowland lap after lap, which eventually culminated in that move which didn’t quite come off. The television director rightly didn’t show anything but the pair of them for several laps.

    That was one of the best bits of racing action I’ve seen all year, certainly better than anything we’ve had in F1, where ‘proximity DRS’ would surely have decided the scrap in Vaxivere’s favour after half a lap.

  4. My vote goes to Lewis. This race was his and he was evidently faster than Nico but has been sabotaged by his team yet again. He tried valiantly but as he said it’s impossible to overtake on this track. I’m sure his childhood hero would’ve wanted him to win and not his teammate who had to use dirty tricks to keep him behind.
    I hope Nico enjoys the second place his “warm” team gave him, because in 2016 the pecking order will return and he will crack like usual.

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