Marcos Martinez in new terrritory After leading the race from start to finish, Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) takes the win in the first round of this season's Formula Renault 3.5 Series, claiming his first success in the discipline. The Spaniard...
Marcos Martinez in new terrritory
After leading the race from start to finish, Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) takes the win in the first round of this season's Formula Renault 3.5 Series, claiming his first success in the discipline. The Spaniard finishes ahead of Bertrand Baguette (International Draco) and Adrian Valles (Epsilon Euskadi). Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) is best rookie driver.
The reverse grid system was in operation for the first race of the season, so it was Adrian Valles on pole position this afternoon under the Barcelona sun, with Marcos Martinez, Bertrand Baguette and Oliver Turvey behind him at the start. The first mishap came in the formation lap with Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) losing control and crashing into a tire wall. The race was over before it started for the hapless French driver! Adrian Valles span his wheels on the start grid, letting Marco Martinez through to lead into the first turn, with Bertrand Baguette, Adrian Valles, Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) and Oliver Turvey in hot pursuit.
Federico Leo (Pons Racing) and Frankie Provenzano (Prema Powerteam) found themselves limping back into the pits after a coming together in what was an eventful first lap. Behind leader Marcos Martinez, Adrian Valles, Jaime Alguersuari and Oliver Turvey were all putting the pressure on second placed Bertrand Baguette. Further back down the field, Miguel Molina (Ultimate Motorsport), in 13th, was in a hurry to get past Brendon Hartley (Tech 1 Racing). Molina's greater experience eventually told as he found the way through.
Up front, there were changes in the race order when Oliver Turvey got the better of team mate Jaime Alguersuari, to move up into 4th place in the 7th lap. Meanwhile Martinez was pulling away. After the first quarter hour, he had stretched his lead to almost two seconds. Behind him the battle between Bertrand Baguette and Adrian Valles got critical as the Spaniard moved up alongside the Belgian driver at the end of the straight. Baguette bent but didn't snap and held onto his second place. Oliver Turvey took advantage of the tussle to get back to within striking distance of the two drivers.
Miguel Molina was the one providing the race action further back in the field. After getting past Brendon Hartley and Greg Mansell (Ultimate Motorsport), he moved to attack Daniil Move in a struggle for 9th position. The Russian defended his position tooth and nail, bur the Spaniard finally found the opening in lap 15. Move then had to cope with constant pressure from Pasquale DiSabatino (RC Motorsport), Greg Mansell, Brendon Hartley, Adrian Zaugg (Interwetten.com Racing) and Haralds Segelmilhs (Comtec Racing). It was Zaugg who was to come out on top in this group, taking over 10th place, ahead of DiSabatino and Hartley.
The last few minutes of the race were interminable for the whole Pons Racing team. Marcos Martinez had to deal with a comeback from Baguette and Valles towards the end of the race, but he held his lead to the finish line, to take the win ahead of Bertrand Baguette and Adrian Valles. Oliver Turvey was best rookie, finishing ahead of Jaime Alguersuari and Chris Van der Drift (Epsilon Euskadi).
Marcos Martinez: "In free practice, we had a problem with the differential, so we couldn't work properly. In qualifying, I managed to get into the first eight and that was my goal. The car worked like clockwork today. It's great to take my first win here."
Bertrand Baguette: "It was a very difficult race. Our car wasn't performing perfectly. Adrian put me under pressure all through the race. It's good to start with a second place. Tomorrow will be difficult for us, but I'm sure we will be on top form for Spa, in front of my home crowd."
Adrian Valles: "First I must thank Epsilon Euskadi for giving me this chance to get back into Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The conditions are right for us to be able to compete for the title. I messed up my start today-- it has to be said it's a while since I had to handle a standing start! The car was good during the race, but Bertrand fought like a lion and I couldn't get past him."