25 May Rowland is top rookie in Monaco
Racing Steps Foundation backed racer Oliver Rowland was the top rookie finisher in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series race in the streets of Monaco this weekend. Taking fifth overall the British driver had a superb race, fighting with the more experienced racers to take further points towards his championship campaign. For teammate Sergey Sirotkin bad luck hit when the Russian got stuck on the grid at the start, dropping him to the back of the field.
Starting in fifth, Rowland made a great getaway. He quickly overtook Carlos Sainz (DAMS) for fourth, but on the narrow street circuit couldn’t keep the Spaniard at bay and Sainz regained his position. Continuing on in fifth, Rowland was piling on the pressure to the drivers ahead and, later on in the race, was battling for third with Jazeman Jaafar and Sainz. However, not wanting to risk his grid position Rowland kept his cool and cruised to take the chequered flag in fifth.
Rowland said: “Monaco is a great circuit, there are no words to describe it, I’ve always dreamt of being here as a child! I got a good start and made some moves but it’s a tough circuit. I’m pleased with the result, to finish fifth and get some more points is really good for the team.”
Behind, Sirotkin started in sixth but got stuck on the grid as the lights went out. However he managed to get the car started again and joined the race at the back of the field from the pit-lane. The Russian held fastest lap for a few laps and was on the charge, but his race was over on lap seven when he spun at the Anthony Noghes corner.
“An ECU gremlin caused a problem with the launch system which saw Sergey stall,” commented Jamie Dye, Team Manager. “Everyone in the team and at Renault is working flat out to find the problem. We believe Sergey has the speed to win and will do.”
Rowland now sits second overall in the championship with 59 points. The next round takes place at Spa 31st May – 1st June.