19 Oct Double podium finish in Jerez
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series held their final event for 2014 in Jerez, Spain last weekend. The Fortec duo of Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin made sure to go out with a bang, each taking a podium finish in race one and Rowland taking the win in the final race.
Saturday morning’s race saw Rowland line up on the second row of the grid, with Sirotkin just a few places behind. At the start, Rowland held second place whilst Sirotkin moved up into third. Behind them, an incident between William Buller (Arden Motorsport) and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) saw the chasing pack increase their gap.
As the pair continued to pull away, Rowland was looking for a chance to overtake leader Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) but couldn’t find an opening to take the lead and continued to defend from his chasing teammate.
Despite a final attempt from Rowland in the last corner, he crossed the line in second. Sirotkin finished third – less than a half of a second behind his teammate.
Commenting on the race Rowland said: ” My best chance was at the start because there wasn’t going to be a lot of opportunities to get past the leader. All the same, we did a good job and we will try again tomorrow. Will did a better job today.”
Sirotkin said: “It is a very good result. At the start, I was able to slot in behind the two leaders and save the DRS and tyres to try something.”
Starting from the pole position, Rowland won the final race of season ten of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The protégé of the Racing Steps Foundation scored his second triumph of the season.
Having lost any chance for the title the day before, Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) posted the best time in qualifying before receiving a two-place penalty for blocking a competitor. Rowland then inherited the front row and pole position.
When the lights went out, Rowland held on to his lead and continued to pull out a significant gap on the rest of the field. Meanwhile Sirotkin made a good start from 11th and was soon fighting in the top five.
Rowland went on to take a comfortable win with a seven-second margin. Sirotkin crossed the line in fifth.
Rowland commented: “We came here knowing that we are competitive here. I inherited the pole a little bit by surprise, but Pierre and Roberto started strong while I got a good start! The car was fantastic and I thank the team for that. Fourth for my first year with two victories is very good. I am not in control of my future, but I think it would be in my interest to put in a second season here.”