Climbing from fifth on the grid, Oliver Rowland (Manor MP Motorsport) scored his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 win of the year at Spa-Francorchamps, with Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing) and Oscar Tunjo (Josef Kaufmann Racing) completing the podium.
Fastest in qualifying overall, Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsports) started on the front of the grid alongside Oscar Tunjo, the quickest driver in Group A, with William Vermont (ARTA Engineering), Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland lining up behind them.
The polesitter made an excellent start to lead from Oscar Tunjo, while Pierre Gasly tried unsuccessfully to nose past William Vermont. It was Oliver Rowland who made the most incisive start of all, however, surging past William Vermont and Oscar Tunjo in the early stages and then taking the lead from Jake Dennis at the end of lap three.
A number of battles raged behind the leader, with Andrea Pizzitola (ART Junior Team) and William Vermont relinquishing sixth and seventh place respectively to the Prema Powerteam duo of Luca Ghiotto and Antonio Fuoco. Further down the field Benjamin Bailly (RC Formula) limped out after a shunt with Ignazio D’Agosto (KTR).
Oliver Rowland had stretched his lead over Jake Dennis by the midway point, with the poleman then dropping down two more positions as Pierre Gasly and Oscar Tunjo sliced past him.
Oliver Rowland was untroubled as he eased over the line with plenty to spare from Pierre Gasly and Oscar Tunjo. Andrea Pizzitola and Antonio Fuoco occupied the next two places after overtaking Jake Dennis, who came home sixth, and an unfortunate Luca Ghiotto, who was forced to retire with one lap remaining. William Vermont, Esteban Ocon (ART Junior Team), Stefan Wackerbauer (Interwetten.com Racing) and Mikko Pakari (Fortec Motorsports) rounded off the top ten ahead of Matthieu Vaxiviere (Tech 1 Racing), who nevertheless remains out front in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings, nine points clear of Oliver Rowland.
What they said
Oliver Rowland: “I started fifth and with so much competition around I wasn’t expecting to win. There were a few private duels going on out there and that helped me to keep out of trouble. We showed some good pace in testing and we needed everything to click in this race. Getting my first win of the year more than makes up for a disappointing qualifying session.”
Pierre Gasly: “I’m delighted with second. The car was fantastic and I managed to push past a few of my rivals. We needed to score points for the championship and it’s great to have picked some up.”
Oscar Tunjo: “I tried to grab the lead but it wasn’t to be and that made the rest of the race harder. We got the best out of the tyres but the drivers behind us on the grid were faster. It was a good effort to hold on to a podium place.”