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Formula Renault 3.5

After claiming pole position for both of the weekend’s races, Kevin Magnussen made his advantage count and secured his first victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Spa-Francorchamps. The son of ex-Formula One driver Jan Magnussen became the fifth different winner in five races so far this season. Nick Yelloly (Comtec Racing) and Robin Frijns (Fortec Motorsports), meanwhile, continued their strong starts to the season by finishing on the podium.

In both the rain and dry, Kevin Magnussen proved to be the fastest man in qualifying this weekend. The Dane, a member of the McLaren Development Programme, claimed his second consecutive pole position on a completely soaked track, ahead of Robin Frijns. Sam Bird (ISR) was initially third, but was relegated to the back of the grid due to his car not having enough fuel for the post-qualifying technical tests.

As a result of the poor visibility and track conditions, the race started behind the safety car. When the green flag came out, Kevin Magnussen held on to his advantage from pole position and led the race ahead of Robin Frijns, Jules Bianchi (Tech 1 Racing), Lewis Williamson (Arden Caterham) and Nick Yelloly. The latter then took fourth place from Williamson, a member of Red Bull Junior Team.

Sam Bird and Arthur Pic (Dams) were the first to make their compulsory visit to the pits to change tyres. The race leaders waited longer to make their stops. Kevin Magnussen held an advantage of just over five seconds over Robin Frijns when he made his stop. However, Magnussen’s left-rear wheel proved problematic and he subsequently lost the lead. The Dane exited the pits behind Robin Frijns, but then regained the lead after launching an unstoppable charge at the braking zone at Les Combes.

The safety car made another appearance following a spectacular collision between Richie Stanaway (Lotus) and Carlos Huertas (Fortec Motorsports). The race was then interrupted by the red flag before restarting behind the safety car. Jules Bianchi, for his part, became stuck on the grid at the restart and fell to the bottom of the leaderboard.

At this stage Kevin Magnussen found himself in fifth, but he was effectively the race leader as Lewis Williamson, Jake Rosenzweig (ISR), Daniil Move (P1 Motorsport) and Kevin Korjus (Tech 1 Racing) still needed to make their pitstops. Robin Frijns, meanwhile, was overtaken by Nick Yelloly.

After resisting the challenge of Nick Yelloly, Kevin Magnussen held on to the lead all the way to the chequered flag. Like his compatriot Marco Sorensen (Lotus) yesterday, Magnussen recorded his first victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. It was a job well done for Nick Yelloly and Robin Frijns, who finished on the podium to move up to third and second respectively in the overall standings. Sam Bird, who came from the back of the grid to finish fifth, retains his lead in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

What they said:

Kevin Magnussen: “I’ve had ups and downs this weekend. It started well with my first pole, but in the first race we didn’t have the level of performance that we’d expected. This race was incredibly difficult. With the drivers not having made their stops, I didn’t really know if I was in the lead. The only negative was that we had a bad pitstop. Fortunately I managed to regain the advantage over Robin.”

Nick Yelloly: “What a race! We really couldn’t see anything. I’m happy to finish second, given our performance level in qualifying. We’re moving up in the championship, which is the most important thing.”

Robin Frijns: “It hasn’t all gone perfectly this weekend. Yesterday was not a good day, but we were better today. All I tried to do was to go all the way. It paid off and I’ve finished third, which puts me back on the championship trail... even though, and I repeat, I’m not thinking about it. Well, not much…”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 03 June 2012
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