Competing in his second season in discipline, Carlos Huertas (Carlin) secured his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series win in race two at Motorland Aragon.
The Colombian mastered the wet conditions to top the podium from Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) and Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports), while Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) finished ninth and retains his lead in the championship.
Interrupted on several occasions, the morning’s qualification session took place in the rain and ended with Norman Nato (DAMS) grabbing his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series pole from Carlos Huertas and Sergey Sirotkin.
Responsible for a red flag, Kevin Magnussen was relegated to last place on the grid after having his only time wiped out.
The rain continued to fall in the afternoon, prompting the race director to order a safety car start, though the cars of Arthur Pic (AV Formula) and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) were left stranded on the grid, ruling them out of the race start proper, on lap three.
Norman Nato promptly got his braking all wrong at turn one and went off. Though able to rejoin the race, albeit at the back of the field, the Frenchman was nonetheless handed a drive-through for dangerous driving.
Taking over at the front, Carlos Huertas began to set a fierce pace to leave his pursuers trailing, while both Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and Kevin Magnussen launched impressive recovery drives behind him, the Dane working his way into the points as early as lap six.
Stoffel Vandoorne’s unsuccessful attack at the end of the pit straight allowed second-placed Sergey Sirotkin to increase his advantage over the Belgian, though the two would continue their dice all the way to the chequered flag. Christopher Zanella’s (ISR) race ended prematurely as he went off, before Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing) nipped past Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and into sixth on lap 13, with Marco Sorensen (Lotus) then stealing past Mikhail Aleshin (Tech 1 Racing) and moving into the points in tenth place.
Race leader Carlos Huertas made untroubled progress to take the flag from Sergey Sirotkin and Stoffel Vandoorne, with Will Stevens, Nico Muller, Nigel Melker, Antonio Felix da Costa and Andre Negrao behind them. Completing the top ten were the two Danes, Kevin Magnussen and Marco Sorensen, in that order.
Carlos Huertas: “I had a good first lap, while Norman seemed to go wrong on the brakes. I almost went off too because it wasn’t easy to heat the brakes and the tyres up. Although there was a little bit of aquaplaning out there, I managed to open up a gap. The car was just perfect.”
Sergey Sirotkin: “It was a very good weekend for me. We had the potential to be on the front row but we missed out. The important thing, though, is that we managed to fulfil that potential by getting a good result in the race.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It wasn’t the greatest day for the team, though we still managed to pick up some points and cut the gap on Kevin. Being on the front row was vital if you were going to win here. Congratulations to Carlos for his first victory.”
World Series by Renault