29 Sep Two top five finishes at Paul Ricard
The Formula Renault 3.5, which forms part of the prestigious World Series by Renault, headed to Paul Ricard this weekend for the penultimate round of the championship. Fortec drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Oliver Rowland each took home a top five finish, with Sirtokin finishing fourth for race one and Rowland taking a podium finish with third for race two.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw Sirotkin line up fifth on the grid, with Rowland eighth. As the lights went out Rowland made an excellent getaway but suffered a puncture on the opening lap, sending him to pits. Meanwhile Sirotkin had showed his pace and was up in fourth, where he stayed up until the chequered flag.
Meanwhile Rowland had got back on track and was putting on a great show in a duel with Esteban Ocon (Comtec Racing). Rowland was to eventually take control and overtook the Frenchman to cross the line thirteenth.
Race two took place on Sunday and after an eventful morning qualifying session Rowland lined up eighth, with Sirotkin on the second row in third. SMP Racing supported Sirotkin made a good start, with Racing Steps Foundation driver Rowland closely following the leading group.
As the race continued the front-runners pulled away but the mandatory pit stop re-shuffled the order among the chasing group. The first to stop, Rowland, gained several positions and slotted in between Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport) and Roberto Merhi (Zeta Course).
Rowland was soon on Gasly’s tail, however with little room for maneuver the Fortec racer crossed the line in third. Sirotkin went on to finish seventh.
Oliver Rowland commented on his second race: “To finish third is a good thing considering my spot on the grid. I wasn’t really satisfied with my qualifying result and I knew that I would have to use one of my tyres from Saturday following my puncture. I had good pace, I caught up to Pierre, but the tyre degradation was too much at the end of the race and it was kind of nice damage limitation!”
Reflecting on his race weekend Sirotkin commented: “Looking to the entire weekend the performance was not bad at all and I could obtain p5 and p3 in qualy and p4 and p7 in races, which means a good amount of championship points. We are now preparing the final round of the championship, hoping to close on a high 2014 season.”
The next and final round takes place at the Circuito de Jerez over the weekend of the 18th-19th of October.