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Formula Renault 3.5

Starting from pole, Kevin Magnussen scored a lights-to-flag win in the weekend’s first Formula Renault 3.5 Series race at Spa-Francorchamps, becoming the first driver to win twice this season. Joined on the podium by Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing), the Dane consolidated his championship lead.

In a qualifying session cut to 20 minutes after the morning’s fog delay, Kevin Magnussen reprised his double pole at Spa last year by outpacing Antonio Felix da Costa, Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), Arthur Pic (AV Formula) and Marco Sorensen (Lotus) to head the grid.

When the lights went out, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series points leader fended off an attack from Antonio Felix da Costa to stay out front. Making a superb start, Arthur Pic moved into third ahead of Nikolay Martsenko (Pons Racing) and Marco Sorensen, while Jazeman Jaafar fell back to tenth and Lucas Foresti failed to get off the start grid. Home driver Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) suffered a setback when he lost several places after an off-track excursion.

Up ahead Kevin Magnussen quickly stretched his lead over Antonio Felix da Costa and Arthur Pic, while behind them Nigel Melker shot up six places to fourth after only five laps. The safety car then made its only appearance of the race on lap seven after Nico Müller (International Draco Racing) and Yann Cunha (AV Formula) came together at the entrance to Fagnes.

On the restart Nigel Melker barged past Arthur Pic and into third, with Marco Sorensen getting the better of Nikolay Martsenko to take fifth. There was no stopping Kevin Magnussen, however, the Dane cruising over the line to claim victory from Antonio Felix da Costa and Nigel Melker with Arthur Pic and Marco Sorensen finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Also in the points were Nikolay Martsenko, Andre Negrao (International Draco Racing), Daniil Move (SMP Racing by Comtec), Jazeman Jaafar and Carlos Huertas (Carlin).

What they said

Kevin Magnussen: “It was a difficult race and I was under pressure from the cars behind me for a long time. The safety car stayed out for a long time too and I had to remain focused. Maybe Antonio was faster than me but I managed to keep my head. It was important to win today and obviously I’m very pleased with the result.”

Antonio Felix da Costa: “The first lap was a real test for me. I made two mistakes and then I had to give everything to stay in touch. We had some really good pace thanks to the team and I’m grateful to them. I just couldn’t quite pull off the win, though.”

Nigel Melker: “I’m very happy at finally getting on the podium. The temperatures caught us out this morning though we managed to get things under control in time for the race. After starting from so far back I never thought I’d get up to fourth so quickly. Finishing on the podium, just behind Kevin and Antonio, is a fantastic result for us.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 01 June 2013
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