Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) won the pole position, took the victory and set the fastest lap in race one of the Formula Renault Series 3.5 this Saturday at the Nürburgring. Already the leader in the general classification, the Racing Steps Foundation backed Englishman becomes the only driver to have won eight times in the category. 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion and member of the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme, rookie Nyck de Vries (DAMS) finished runner-up ahead of Jazeman Jaafar, whose third place allows Fortec Motorsports to pull away in the championship. Now the only driver with a chance of battling Oliver Rowland for the title, Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) finished fourth. The Lotus F1 Junior Team driver is now 49 points adrift in the championship battle.
In the morning, Oliver Rowland took his fourth pole position of the season with a time of 1:41.004. Nyck de Vries was second quickest, but the Dutchman lost two places as he served the penalty he incurred at Silverstone. Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) and Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) each gained a spot, while Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) started fifth.
Rowland ahead, de Vries up to second
Oliver Rowland controlled the race from the front, while Nyck de Vries and Jazeman Jaafar followed close behind. The leading trio was followed by Matthieu Vaxiviere, Tom Dillmann and Tio Ellinas at the completion of the opening lap in which Dean Stoneman (DAMS) and Roy Nissany (Tech 1 Racing) passed through the pits.
On lap nine, the safety car was called into service to allow for the removal of the cars of Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport), who spun off the track while trying to overtake Alfonso Celis (AVF), and Bruno Bonifacio (International Draco Racing), who also came to a stop in the gravel trap. On the restart, Oliver Rowland maintained his advantage from Nyck de Vries, while other battles were going further back in the field
The Englishman crossed the line ahead of the best rookie in the race, Nyck de Vries. Jazeman Jaafar held off the charges from Matthieu Vaxiviere and Tom Dillmann to complete the podium. Sixth place Tio Ellinas was followed by Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Gustav Malja (Strakka Racing), who ran his streak of point scoring results to seven consecutive. Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport) and Alfonso Celis rounded out the top ten.
Oliver Rowland: “I want to thank the team because it has accomplished a fantastic job in order for us to have the best car possible. After the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, we have managed to maximize the performance. I was a bit clever at the restart as I remembered in an NEC race here where Nyck passed four cars at the first corner. I just had to be a bit braver in the last two corners. We are in a good position. We will try to get the double, which will keep us from not thinking too much about the title.”
Nyck de Vries: "I am very pleased to be back on the podium, as much for the team as for myself. We aren’t here often enough. We showed our potential in qualifying, but unfortunately we had to serve a penalty we received at Silverstone. I had to get a great start and we had very good pace, especially in the second stint.”
Jazeman Jaafar: “We have come a long way back since a period where we had reliability issues. I am happy with our race today and I now hope to keep this momentum going tomorrow.”
Provisional general classification * : 1. O. Rowland – 234 points, 2. M. Vaxiviere – 185, 3. J. Jaafar – 106, 4. N. de Vries – 101, 5. D. Stoneman – 98…*Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications