Vandoorne takes top step of podium in Spa

2nd June 2013, Spa – The second race of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series saw Stoffel Vandoorne take his second win of the season, in front of his home crowd at Spa-Francorchamps. It was also a strong race for team-mate Oliver Webb who crossed the line in ninth.

The morning’s qualifying session saw Vandoorne take third place and a slot on the second row. As the lights went out Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) bogged down from pole position, seeing Nico Muller (International Draco Racing) go into first followed by Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing). Magnussen slipped further back and just seconds later Vandoorne dived past Muller and Stevens to take the lead at Les Combes.

As Vandoorne pulled out a lead on a chasing Stevens, a safety car was called out due to an incident involving five cars behind. At the restart Vandoorne slipped back down the order. However just two laps later the Belgian pitted for a new set of tyres and was soon back out in front once everyone else had made their mandatory pit-stops.

Vandoorne pushed on and crossed the line in first, taking his second win of the season and vital points towards his championship title campaign, where he currently sits in second – just 29 points a drift of the top spot.

Commenting after the race Vandoorne said: “This weekend we had our ups and downs. Our speed was really strong but in the first qualifying we were really unlucky with the yellow flags. Due to our bad start position we weren’t able to take some points. On the other hand today was amazing! I had a perfect opening lap taking the lead. From then on I pushed really hard to get a small gap and pull a lead out. The team did a great job this weekend to give me a competitive car and winning on home ground feels absolutely incredible!”

For team-mate Webb a mistake in qualifying saw him eighteenth on the grid. As the lights went out he had a great start to power off the line. However a stalled car in front meant Webb had to take the outside to get passed and then was pushed wide at turn one on the way down the back of Eau Rouge.  An incident in front, resulting in the safety car being called out, saw the British racer gain a few places back and move up the order into the top ten.

After the race had been restarted Webb powered up the grid, gaining pace quickly and sitting in seventh. The tight track saw Webb get tangled with Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) and Carlos Sainz Jnr (Zeta Corse) as they went three wide into the bus stop chicane.  Sainz squeezed through sending Webb off the track on the exit, allowing Jaafar to also pass and seeing Webb slip down into eleventh. As the battle continued out front Webb kept his head down to get passed the fight and gain back his lost positions, crossing the line in ninth.

Webb commented: “Overall I am really happy with the car and our race pace. It was a mixed weekend really and I am disappointed with the qualifying results, but for both cars to be in the points is great for the team,” commented Webb.

 

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