28 Apr Vandoorne takes third at a rain soaked Motorland
28th April, Motorland, Aragon – Another torrential day of rain saw the final race of the Formula Renault 3.5 take place on wet track, with more rain falling during the race. Despite the poor visibility Stoffel Vandoorne pulled through to finish third and claim vital points towards the championship, putting him just four points behind the leader. For team-mate Oliver Webb the wet conditions, that had haunted him in qualifying, again saw a difficult race. Starting near the back of the grid meant the visibility was too poor, due to the spray from cars in front, to gamble with any overtaking. The young Briton maintained his focus putting in a sterling effort to finish seventeenth.
Rain played a big part in the outcome of this afternoon’s final Formula Renault 3.5 race. With an already wet track, more rain before the start of the race saw conditions worsen and visibility on the track was at a minimum. Race organisers decided to start the race behind a safety car to enable all drivers to get accustomed to the conditions.
As the green flag was waved to mark the start of the race, the out lap saw a spin by Arthur Pic (AV Formula) and Vandoorne promoted to fourth. After five minutes the safety car was called back in and racing was underway, however with all drivers concentrating on staying on track there was not much room to make a move to overtake. A spin, by then race leader Norman Nato (Dams), saw him fall down the order and Vandoorne was once again able to profit going into third. The young Belgian maintained his position and made no mistakes to take the car home in third, gaining points towards the championship and closing the gap between him and his championship rival Kevin Magnussen (Dams).
After an unfortunate qualifying session this morning team-mate Webb started his race from near the back of the grid – making conditions tough as spray from the eighteen cars in front made visibility exceptionally difficult. However as the race got underway Webb overtook to go seventeenth and was showing good pace catching the cars in front. As track conditions continued to worsen Webb saw a few brief exits off track but was able to keep his car in the race to cross the line in seventeenth.
After the race Webb said: “ It really was terrible conditions, it was the worst race a lot us have ever had in the rain. I had an ok start and the car felt really good. I was catching the cars in front but it was literally a case of going with what you could see – when you can’t even see your front nose it’s pretty hard!”
Vandoorne said: “ It was a very hard race – one of the hardest of my life. I don’t think they really should have started the race, although in the end I’m quite happy as I’m on the podium. I just cruised around and tried to keep the car on track, which really was the key. I’m four points from Kevin now and I’m really pleased I reduced the gap to him again.”