Fortec lead driver and team championship after FR3.5 first round

Race two of the Formula Renault 3.5 saw a great result for the Fortec Motorsports team, with Stoffel Vandoorne taking his second podium position of the weekend in third place and retaining his championship lead. Oli Webb also had an impressive race, with strong lap times until a puncture on the last lap caused him to nearly hit the wall, however the talented young driver kept the car on track to finish ninth. The results also gave Fortec Motorsports the lead in the teams championship.

Race two of the FR3.5 saw a stunning start for Vandoorne, as he powered straight off the start-line from second into first and lead into the first chicane. However pole-sitter Antonio Felix da Costa past as Vandoorne cut the chicane and went back into second.

Behind, Webb had also made a good start gaining six places from eleventh off the grid into fifth. The 22-year-old continued his strong form, briefly slipping into sixth, as Arthur Pic (AV Formula) took fifth. However Webb was soon on the charge and constantly improving his lap times as he found himself behind a new challenger, Nico Muller (International Draco Racing), when Pic went into fourth. Webb then continuously traded positions to once again find himself in fifth, with a lead of a second over nearest rival Muller who had slipped into sixth.

As the race continued, both drivers fought on keen to add to their points haul from yesterday’s race. Up at the front Vandoorne was in third, fighting hard to fend off Pic who was gaining pace. There was then no let up until the chequered flag, which saw Vandoorne cross the line in third and give him his second podium finish of the weekend.

Webb continued to improve his lap times and was setting similar times to the race leaders. The former Fortec British Formula 3 driver was all set to finish in the top five until a puncture on the penultimate corner of the final lap caused him to loose ground, however Webb kept his cool resulting in a credible ninth place finish and points towards the championship.

This afternoons result ensures that Vandoorne retains the championship lead with 40 points over closest rival Kevin Magnussen (Dams).

Vandoorne commented: “My start was really good as I went into first from second.  However Da Costa was right on my tail and at turn one I made a mistake which saw me drop back a bit and loose contact with the lead. I kept pushing and to bring the car home in third is still a great follow up to yesterday’s win. The team did a great job this weekend and everything went relatively smoothly. I’m looking forward to the next round at Motorland, we were fastest their in testing and I am confident we will be able to get a good result there.”

Oli Webb said after the race: “ I had a great start from P11 to P5 and gaining six places. I then lost a place to Pic and saw Stoffel etc battling in front and catching them all, however it then leveled out. I was lapping similar times to the leaders the whole race until the second to last corner of the last lap where I got a sudden puncture, nearly hitting the wall. I managed to hold on and finished ninth going across the line in second gear at 50mph! I’m happy I managed to score some points and am looking forward to the next round.”


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