27 Apr Motorland shows promise
27th April, Motorland Aragon – The first race of the second round of the Formula Renault 3.5 saw dry conditions, making a significant change to the rain soaked qualifying which had taken place earlier in the day. For Stoffel Vandoorne the start went well and the young Belgian gained a place off the start into seventh but unfortunately lost out due to traffic, finishing the race in eighth. Team-mate Webb lost some ground off the start, however he continued to gain pace throughout the race before tyre problems saw the Briton lose ground and take the chequered flag in eleventh.
Vandoorne charged off the start-line, going straight into seventh by the first corner. The 2012 formula Renault Eurocup champion showed good speed and was hot on the tail of Norman Nato (Dams), hunting him down for sixth. Unfortunately the train of drivers up front couldn’t get past each other, due to the strong down force making it difficult for anyone to challenge to overtake.
Continuing his strong pace Vandoorne was concentrating on keeping out of trouble as he slipped into eighth and battles were fought up ahead. He soon closed the gap between him and seventh place but was unable to make a move to get past, crossing the line in eighth.
For Webb, time lost off the start saw him in twelfth position by the end of the first lap. However the 21-year-old soon found his pace and gained a position back, continuing to hunt down tenth place. As his strong form continued Webb looked set for a top ten finish, until he flat-spotted his tyre going into turn one causing him to make a brief visit off track. Despite loosing three seconds Webb got back on track to maintain his eleventh position, where he stayed until the chequered flag.
Commenting after the race Vandoorne said: “The had a reasonable start and my pace was looking good, there was a little train of four or five drivers as there was a car in front with high down force holding us up. It was a bit messy with cars going everywhere, I made a mistake but got past then I overtook again but got stuck behind the high down force but I couldn’t find a way past as I was on the limiter the whole time. The car felt good and I’m pretty sure if I’d been in clean air we could have done a much better job and the pace would have been quicker. I’ll learn from it though and make the best of it tomorrow. I need to make the best of tomorrow and try and be up the front of the grid to score more points.”
Webb commented: “I lost three places off the start but gained one back and was catching the front of the grid. It was going well for about fifteen laps until I flat spotted my tyre and I had to concentrate on surviving and finishing the race. I feel confident for tomorrow, Stoffel and I were within a tenth of each other on the lap times and I’ve got some good things to take from today.”
Webb shows of his new Aluminaid livery in Motorland