Home hero Sergey Sirotkin remained stranded on track just before the end of the warm-up lap, at the last turn.
I.S.R. Racing endured a difficult day at Moscow Raceway, where the F.Renault 3.5 championship held the first race of their Russian weekend.
Sirotkin's retirement was especially disappointing, as he could have been pushed back into the pit-lane by the marshals, a move that would have allowed him to restart his car and take the track in last place, from the pits.
Sergey's starting position would have been P13, a good achievement considering that the Russian driver has been debilitated for the whole weekend by a nasty flu.
Zanella's qualifying had been good too in the first outing, but on new rubber he locked-up his front wheels and ended the session in 17th place.
Sergey Sirotkin (Q1 - P13; R1 - DNS): “I'm really sorry for what happened, I didn't even manage to start my home race. Often the most important events are the ones where bad luck strikes on you, and that's exactly what happened today.
If at least the marshals had pushed me back into the pits I would have been able to start from last place, and I can swear that I would have given all I had to try and recover, even if on this track it's so difficult.
Qualifying wasn't that good also, I didn't manage to put a perfect lap together, so I really hope that tomorrow I will have a better day. It would be so important for all the people that came here to give me their support".
Christopher Zanella (Q1 - P17; R1 - DNF): “In qualifying I had a good feeling and my first try was good, but then with my second set I made a mistake under braking and flat-spotted my tyres.
At the start of the race I was quick, but I took the inside line and it proved to be the wrong choice. I lost some ground and then I spun at the end of the race, but despite that the car potential is good and I feel that tomorrow we'll be able to fight for a top 5 finish".