WSR

Le Mans: Race one report

The sixth element Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) is the sixth winner in as many races in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5! The German finished ahead of his countryman Daniel La Rosa, who took a first podium spot...

The sixth element

Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) is the sixth winner in as many races in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5! The German finished ahead of his countryman Daniel La Rosa, who took a first podium spot for Interwetten.com! Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi), who still heads up the overall standings, was the third man on the podium.

Two drivers failed to line up for the start: Jaap Van Lagen (KTR) and Karun Chandhok (RC Motorsport) were both penalised for what was adjudged to have been dangerous driving in free practice. Van Laagen was banned for this race only, while Chandhok is suspended for the meetings in both Bilbao and Oschersleben as well as for the rest of this weekend.

Tristan Gommendy made a superb start to surge past Markus Winkelhock. The rest of the field got through the first chicane without incident. That is until Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) ran into Damien Pasini (Cram Competition). Alx Danielsson (DAMS) was another who was unable to complete lap one.

The safety car had to be called out as a result. Behind Gommendy and Winkelhock, Daniel La Rosa (Interwetten.com) was settling into a surprising third. He was followed by Robert Kubica, Will Power, Eric Salignon, Enrico Toccacelo, Andreas Zuber, Patrick Pilet and Simon Pagenaud.

Racing resumed on lap 3, without any change in the race order. But Tristan Gommendy was brought right back down to earth when he picked up a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. And the DAMS team just doesn't seem to have any luck on home soil: Raffaele Giammaria span off on lap 5.

Tristan Gommendy came into the pit lane after eight laps, handing control of the race to Markus Winkelhock. On rejoining, he found himself back in 16th.

From then on, Winkelhock was well on his way to his first victory of the season. No-one out there was taking any risks that may have compromised their chances for the second race and the top 10 remained unchanged as a result.

After having shaken off Celso Miguez (Pons Racing), Gommendy then turned his attention to attacking Ryo Fukuda (DHG Saulnier Racing). On lap 15, Milos Pavlovic (GD Racing) moved into 9th at Simon Pagenaud's expense. Meanwhile, Colin Fleming (Jenzer Motorsport) was busy setting the fastest lap.

Marcus Winkelhock: "My start was nothing special. In the heat of the moment, I thought Tristan had simply got off to a flyer. Then I understood exactly what had happened when I saw he had picked up a drive-through penalty. From then on, my car just got better and better and I got into a good rhythm which meant I was able open out a gap without taking too many risks."

Daniel La Rosa: "We had quite a few problems in free practice as we couldn't seem to find the right setup. But we were quicker in the wet. Then, we completely changed the settings for the dry and we got exactly what we were looking for. I made the start of my life and then did everything to ensure that Robert stayed behind me."

Robert Kubica: "My start was good, as I made it past both Power and Toccacelo. I though I was going to be able to attack Daniel during the race. But when I saw that Gommendy had picked up a penalty, I thought that, from a Championship point of view, a podium spot would do just fine. So I didn't take any risks."

-wsr-

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