WSR

Estoril: Series race one report

Carbone keeps fighting! Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) is not ready to lie down and accept defeat just yet! With his third race win of the season, the Brazilian has kept the title race alive for one more day at least. Giedo Van der...

Carbone keeps fighting!

Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) is not ready to lie down and accept defeat just yet! With his third race win of the season, the Brazilian has kept the title race alive for one more day at least. Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport), eighth today, still needs three points to be crowned champion. Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) joined Carbone on the podium.

As ever, the start grid was reversed for the first race of the weekend, Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec) starting from the front row, just ahead of Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing).

Bonanomi got too much wheel spin at the start and Bertrand Baguette and Marcos Martinez were soon on his tail. The three cars collided and Marco Bonanomi was forced to retire. Marcos Martinez took advantage, moving into the lead, with Fabio Carbone, Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport), Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Bertrand Baguette behind him in that order.

Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) had a difficult start to the race. The Frenchman was briefly lying in third place, but ran onto the grass and fell back to twentieth. Shortly afterwards, his race was brought to a premature end after a collision with Pippa Mann (P1 Motorsport).

At the front, Marcos Martinez was well clear of Carbone and Wickens. Meanwhile, Bertrand Baguette's car was clearly feeling the effects of the incident earlier in the race and the Belgian, too, was forced to abandon.

Little by little, Fabio Carbone was beginning to make up ground on Martinez. The Brazilian was really cranking up the pressure. Further back, Giedo Van der Garde, who started from thirteenth on the grid, was working his way up the field. The Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader overtook Marco Barba (International Draco) to move into eighth place, but one lap later, Barba bounced back.

On lap 10, Fabio Carbone passed Martinez and took the lead. Meanwhile, a battle for the third podium spot was raging between Robert Wickens and Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam), who had shaken off Julien Jousse.

The Barba brothers both enjoyed a fine fifteenth lap, Alvaro moving into third spot on the start/finish straight and Marco overtaking Miguel Molina to claim seventh place. Alvaro didn't stop there and was gaining fast on second-placed Marcos Martinez, but he couldn't find a way past and the two men crossed the finish line in that order.

However, after the race, Marcos Martinez was handed a 25-second penalty for his manoeuvre at the start, which relegated him to eleventh place, just behind Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi). Alvaro Barba thus inherited second place and Robert Wickens third.

Fabio Carbone was untroubled for the rest of the race and duly completed his third win of the season, keeping the championship alive. Giedo Van der Garde's eighth-place finish was not enough to secure him the title today.

Fabio Carbone: "It was a really hard race. We had trouble with the rear wheels - there really was no grip. The confusion at the start played to my advantage. Then I put pressure on Martinez. He made a mistake and I took advantage. The Championship isn't over yet. I'll be fighting until the end!"

Alvaro Barba: "I finished on the podium here last year and here I am again. Not bad considering I started from ninth. I'm hoping to do even better in tomorrow's race, with the pit stop. Anything is possible."

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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