Pavlovic puts an end to the waiting!
Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) has had to wait 43 races for his first ever victory in World Series Formula Renault 3.5! The Serbian driver held off Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam), who is shaping up as Parente's new championship rival, right through to the closing bend. Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com) took the remaining place on the podium.
After race one, Filipe Albuquerque picked up a 20-second penalty for having made his pit stop before lap five: the Epsilon Euskadi driver was duly relegated down into 12th position. The front row for race two consisted of Michael Ammermuller and Marco Bonanomi. But the German ran wide on the formation lap and was unable to make the start! This meant that Carlos Iaconelli, lined up alongside Milos Pavlovic on row two, had a clear run ahead of him.
But Bonanomi and Iaconelli got in each other's way on the brakes into the opening bend and Pavlovic turned in first ahead of Iaconelli and Bonanomi. The Italian then made an attempt to pass the Brazilian, but he made an error at Combes. As a result, Giedo van der Garde moved into third ahead of Ben Hanley, Salvador Duran, Alvaro Parente, Filipe Albuquerque, Alejandro NuÃ±ez, Clivio Piccione and Alessandro Ciompi.
Pavlovic was unable to pull away from Iaconelli, who was putting the Serb under pressure. At the same time, Hanley was trying to get the better of Van der Garde. Let down by a mechanical failure, Iaconelli was forced to come back into the pits leaving Pavlovic alone out front. Hanley then moved into second, 1''6 behind the leader. Seeing no end to his run of bad luck, Clivio Piccione was then forced into the pits after falling victim to a puncture. Fairuz Fauzy and James Walker then abandoned the race after a collision.
With five laps gone, Van der Garde finally caved in under pressure from Duran on the brakes into Combes. One lap later, Alvaro Parente then took his opportunity to pass Van der Garde. But the Portuguese driver was unable to hold onto fourth for very long: as a result of brake problems, he was forced to let both Van der Garde and Albuquerque through.
At the halfway stage, Pavlovic had a lead of only 5/10ths over Hanley. Duran was going it alone, with a big gap back to Van der Garde, Albuquerque, Parente, NuÃ±ez, Aleshin, Sabatino and Valsecchi. Hanley made his first attempt to get past Pavlovic on lap 12, but the Serb was able to hold off the young British driver, allowing Duran to close back up to the two leaders!
Further back, Mikhail Aleshin put on a show by snatching seventh away from Alejandro NuÃ±ez on the brakes.
On the final lap, Hanley made yet another attempt to take the lead at the Bus Stop chicane. But Pavlovic was too strong for him and held onto his lead right to the chequered flag!
Milos Pavlovic: "The weekend got off to a bad start for us, as we were having lots of problems with the car and I did not do well in qualifying. But everything turned out fine in the end! I had a nice battle out there with Ben. Luckily I had enough 'push-to-pass' left in reserve to hold onto my lead."
Ben Hanley: "I think someone came into contact with the rear of my car from the start, but that did not affect the performance of the car, which continued to handle very well. I made it back up to Milos and tried to get past him on several occasions, but he was able to hold his own without making any mistakes!"
Salvador Duran: "I think this podium finish is the best result I could have hoped for today. Our setup was right, but my tyres were very badly worn and I was encountering a lot of vibration, which made the car difficult to drive."