Roberto Merhi was punted by fellow competitor Stanaway at Les Combes and had no other option than retiring from the race.
The Spa-Francorchamps World Series weekend is proving a tough one for Zeta Corse. The Russian team had started the day on a high thanks to an amazing 5th place performance from Roberto Merhi in the morning Qualifying session, but hopes of a podium finish were spoilt already on lap 1, when the Spaniard was punted by fellow competitor Stanaway at Les Combes and had no other option than retiring from the race.
That left only rookie Roman Mavlanov to defend the team's colors and the Russian youngster did his part well, delivering a solid performance that allowed him to recover to 13th place starting from P20 on the grid.
Hopes for a comeback from such a disappointing day are now placed on tomorrow's race, scheduled for 3.05 PM.
Roberto Merhi (Q1 - P5; R1 - DNF): "It's difficult to find the words to comment such a disappointing result. The team and I had done a great job in Qualifying, and then everything was wasted because of a hasty move by somebody else. I don't want to be too harsh on Stanaway but I really didn't understand his move. I was already on the inside kerb, I had nowhere else to go so closing the door like he did was a suicidal move. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but at least we have a good pace to hope for a good race tomorrow".
Roman Mavlanov (Q1 - P20; R1 - P13): "If there's anything positive to take from this race is the final position, taking the flag in P13 isn't too bad after starting from P20. Anyway, we still have a lot to do both on the car and on my driving as we're far from the pace we had hoped for. Luckily, F.Renault 3.5 gives us the opportunity to start again from scratch with Qualifying 2 tomorrow morning, we'll try to make the most of it".