Zolder: Race two report

Salignon doubles his money! Just as he did yesterday, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) won a rain-affected race in the closing laps. The day's plucky but unlucky hero was Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), who came mighty close to taking victory....

Salignon doubles his money!

Just as he did yesterday, Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) won a rain-affected race in the closing laps. The day's plucky but unlucky hero was Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), who came mighty close to taking victory. Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) finished on the podium again, and third place went to Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA).

After qualifying, several drivers collected penalties for not staying within the bounds of the track. So in the end, it was Davide Valsecchi who started in pole, ahead of Salignon, Pilet, Toccacelo, Barba, Garcia, Rossiter and Kane. Tenth on the grid, Robbie Kerr crashed on the formation lap and did not start the race.

Valsecchi got away well, enabling him to lead into the first corner, in front of Eric Salignon, Patrick Pilet, Borja Garcia, James Rossiter and Enrico Toccacelo. The safety car was brought out after two laps, after Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) went off.

The race resumed for real four laps later, just before the start of the mandatory pit stop period. James Rossiter got the better of Borja Garcia, whilst Andy Soucek moved past Enrico Toccacelo. Ben Hanley was the first to enter the pits. The RDD driver then could only wait to see if his gamble would pay off. Meanwhile, Garcia and Soucek were engaged in an epic struggle for 5th place.

On lap 6, Danielsson, Fukuda, Kochem and Bonetti all go for the gamble of an early pit stop strategy. James Rossiter grabbed 3rd place from Patrick Pilet on the same lap. Andy Soucek was the first of the leaders to pit (lap 8). But his pit stop was slow, losing the Interwetten.com team precious seconds in the race for the win.

Davide Valsecchi was handed a drive through penalty on lap 10 for having changed wheels after the '5 minute' board was shown before the start. The Italian came in straight away for his penalty, thus handing the race lead to Salignon, who was followed by Pilet, Garcia, Toccacelo, Pavlovic, Jouanny and Valsecchi, who were all yet to change their tyres. Hanley, Rossiter and Montanari led the group of drivers who had already stopped.

Pressed by Garcia, Pilet came in on lap 14. Salignon followed suit a lap later, leaving Borja Garcia in the lead, ahead of Toccacelo and Jouanny. Garcia was the last favourite to come in for his pit stop, doing so on lap 17. The tension was palpable, as Ben Hanley was lapping very quickly at this stage of the race. Montanari's race came to premature end when he ran into the gravel trap, along with James Rossiter. Patrick Pilet also crashed off.

On lap 18, Hanley moved into the lead in the home straight just as the safety car came out onto the track! Valsecchi lay in second, but was yet to pit. These two were followed by Salignon, Garcia, Maldonado, Kane, Soucek, Pavlovic, Barba, Toccacelo and Jouanny.

The safety car was still on the track as it began to rain! Alessandro Bonetti and Ben Hanley crashed off the track in quick succession. The safety car, having just gone off the track, had to come out again, this time in front of new race leader, Eric Salignon. As the rain continued, the red flag was shown to bring the race to an early end after 25 laps.

Eric Salignon: "I never imagined I would win both races here. But everything worked perfectly and the team and I did our best. It was the right decision to stop the race because it could have been very dangerous."

Borja Garcia: "It was a difficult race, but the team did a fantastic job during the pit stop. Two podium finishes is a great result for us."

Pastor Maldonado: "It's fantastic to finish on the podium because I started on row 11! I got past a lot of cars and the team did a great job for the pit stop."

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Robbie Kerr , Eric Salignon , James Rossiter , Pastor Maldonado , Borja Garcia , Patrick Pilet , Mikhail Aleshin , Davide Valsecchi , Andy Soucek , Ben Hanley
Teams Carlin