23 Jun Fortec Lead Driver and Teams Championship
22nd-23rd June 2013, Moscow – The fifth World Series by Renault event of 2013 took place at the Moscow Raceway in Russia. Fortec’s Stoffel Vandoorne dominated the Formula Renault 3.5 series as he took both pole positions and wins, sending him back to the top of the drivers’ championship. Team-mate Oliver Webb also had a strong weekend with two top-ten finishes, which put together with Vandoorne’s point haul, helped see Fortec at the top of the teams’ championship.
Saturday 22nd June
After a stunning qualifying session Vandoorne started the first race of the weekend from pole position, making a storming getaway to maintain his position from a chasing pack. For Webb his start didn’t go to plan, as he slipped down into ninth from fifth on the grid.
Vandoorne continued to pull out a lead over second placed Antonio Felix Da Costa (Arden Caterham) and after just two laps was 1.279 seconds ahead of his championship rival. The young Belgian continued his storming pace and by lap eight had increased his lead to 2.078 seconds, improving in all sectors and setting the fastest lap of the race so far. By lap 28 the gap had increased to an impressive six seconds and Vandoorne cruised home to victory.
Behind, Webb was continuing to battle his way up the field and was sat on the tail of Marlon Stockinger (Lotus), pushing hard to try and move into eighth. However with time not on his side Webb concentrated on staying within the points and maintained his ninth position until the chequered flag.
Commenting after the race Vandoorne said: “Today was a huge improvement from yesterday where we had trouble in free practice. The team did a great job to turn the car around and we were able to grab pole position. Form here on I needed to stay in the lead as overtaking is almost impossible around here. We managed to do this and took our third win of the season. The car was absolutely amazing so thanks to the team for a great job as always!”
Webb added: “Qualifying was great and I was very close to third but at the very end I ended up with a fifth place starting grid position for the race. I had a bad start which saw me fall back but I managed to battle my way back up to ninth and crossed the line there.”
Sunday 23rd June
Vandoorne’s perfect weekend continued as he once again took pole position in the mornings qualifying. Webb also had a fantastic qualifying session, seeing him start fifth on the grid for the second race of the weekend.
As the lights went out Vandoorne had a strong start, maintaining his lead into the first corner, then pulling out a lead over championship leader Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) who had slotted in behind. Championship rival Antonio Felix Da Costa (Arden Caterham) had suffered car trouble and slipped down the order to eventually retire from the race, seeing an even more intense battle form between Vandoorne and Magnussen as the championship lead was all to play for.
Vandoorne continued to storm the rest of the field, improving his sector times and pulling away from Magnussen. Making his mandatory pit stop on lap fifteen, the Fortec crew did a sterling job in getting Vandoorne back out on track in minimal time, seeing the Belgian rejoin the race back in the lead. Vandoorne took no time at all in getting back up to speed and sealed the deal to take the race two win, a massive 11.788 seconds ahead of Magnussen.
Team-mate Webb had an equally strong start, fighting off the chasing field to maintain his fifth place off the grid. The British driver continued with great pace, and after making the mandatory pit-stop re-entered the race in twelfth. Webb continued with great momentum, moving up the field to cross the line in seventh.
The weekend’s results see Vandoorne once again take the championship lead with 136 points and Fortec at the top of the teams championship.
Vandoorne said: “What a perfect weekend for the whole team! We took back the championship lead so what more could we do?! We had great speed and managed to handle every situation – which was the key to winning here.”
Webb commented: “I had a good start and held my position off the start line. However I was on tyres that had done a qualifying session and a race already, this was as we weren’t able to use our set from the second quali that were new as we span on them on Nato’s oil. I never expected to hang on as much as I did with such old tyres when compared to the rest of the field. We managed some good points and to see Fortec P1 in the teams championship is great!”