Martinez strikes twice Rain disrupted the second race of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing), Sten Pentus (Fortec Motorsport) and Chris Van der Drift (Epsilon Euskadi) made the right strategic choice by ...
Martinez strikes twice
Rain disrupted the second race of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing), Sten Pentus (Fortec Motorsport) and Chris Van der Drift (Epsilon Euskadi) made the right strategic choice by holding out as long as possible before the tire change. This was the perfect weekend for Marcos Martinez who claimed the first two wins of this season in front of 90 000 spectators.
Poleman Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) kept ahead at the getaway and completed the fist lap in the lead, ahead of Daniil Move (P1 Motorsport), James Walker (P1 Motorsport), Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) and Marcos Martinez. Brendon Hartley (Tech 1 Racing), from way back in 14th position on the start grid, moved up five places in lap 1 and found himself 9th. Charles Pic pressed hard from the off and built up a lead over P1 Motorsport drivers Move ahead of Walker. After three laps, Charles Pic had established a six second advantage.
James Walker attempted to overtake his team mate to try to mount an assault on Charles Pic, but the British and Russian drivers came together. Walker pitted and had to retire. Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) inherited third spot, then moved into second, overtaking Daniil Move at turn 3. Pasquale DiSabatino (RC Motorsport) and Miguel Molina (Ultimate Motorsport) were first to make the compulsory pit stop. Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) and Daniil Move followed suit in the next lap, followed by Jaime Alguersuari (for a rear tire change), while Charles Pic waited until lap 10 to pit as the sky darkened menacingly and the first drops of rain began to fall.
With serious rain now clearly in evidence, the drivers went into the pits to fit wet tires. Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) and Haralds Segelmilhs (Comtec Racing) span off, forcing the safety car into action. With most of their rivals having to make two pit stops, Marcos Martinez, Adrian Zaugg (Interwetten.com Racing), Sten Pentus, Chris Van der Drift and Adrian Valles (Epsilon Euskadi) negotiated matters perfectly and lined up in the leading positions behind the safety car. At the restart, Marcos Martinez held his lead ahead of Zaugg, Pentus, Van der Drift and Valles.
Grip was precarious to say the least, and drivers deployed acrobatic talents to try to keep their single-seaters on the tarmac. Martinez and Zaugg got caught out and ran off. This gave Sten Pentus the lead for a brief moment before he in turn made a mistake. Marcos Martinez moved back in to the lead, ahead of Sten Pentus, Chris Van der Drift and Adrian Valles. The race was interrupted by the red flag when Frankie Provenzano (Prema Powerteam) went off on the start-finish straight. Marcos Martinez ran his luck to pull off the perfect performance of the weekend, with his second win on the trot, ahead of Sten Pentus and Chris Van der Drift.
Marcos Martinez: "I got off to a good start and I was up with the leaders. We'd decided to make a late pit stop, because I was really on the pace. When the rain started, the team asked me to stay out for a while. It was a super decision, because it meant we only stopped once. It was difficult to keep on the track -- Two races, two wins.
"It's superb! We'll do our best to hold onto this position."
Sten Pentus : "I'm very happy! "The race really started badly. The sky got more and more menacing and we decided to stay out on track as long as possible. On the wet, I didn't think about anything, I just concentrated hard to avoid making a mistake. It's an incredible result."
Chris Van der Drift : "The track was more and more slippery, but we were right to delay the pit stop for as long as possible. It was the right solution. The end of the race was madness. The podium finish is really encouraging."