Hanley takes a bite out of Baguette Though Bertrand Baguette (KTR) may have been quicker off the grid, nothing or no-one was going to get in the way of Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) here today. The RDD driver took his second win of the season to...
Hanley takes a bite out of Baguette
Though Bertrand Baguette (KTR) may have been quicker off the grid, nothing or no-one was going to get in the way of Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) here today. The RDD driver took his second win of the season to make sure of the runner-up spot in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. The other driver to make it onto the podium for today's race was Alejandro NuÃ±ez (Red Devil Comtec).
Mikhail Aleshin (clutch problem) and Alvaro Barba (personal decision) started from the pit lane. As the lights went green, Ben Hanley tried to make his way down the inside. Bundled off onto the grass by NuÃ±ez, the Englishman was unable to find a way through. Bertrand Baguette took advantage of the fracas to go round the outside of both of them and turn into the opening bend first!
Baguette, NuÃ±ez and Hanley were followed by Pavlovic, Parente, Albuquerque, Molina, Duran, Fauzy and Valsecchi. Iaconelli came back into the pits at the end of lap one after a collision with Piccione.
Baguette then seized his opportunity to start building up a lead: with three laps gone, the Belgian had already opened up a gap of 1.6 seconds over NuÃ±ez and Hanley. Further back, Pavlovic was leading a group consisting of Parente, Albuquerque and Molina.
On lap five, Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport) was forced to retire after his car was hit by Alberto Valerio (Victory Engineering). Pippa Mann (Cram Competition) also ended her season in the gravel trap.
Hanley finally found a way past NuÃ±ez on lap 6. At this stage, the Englishman was only 1.4 seconds behind Baguette, promising an intriguing end to the race. In one lap, the gap between the two leaders was down to less than a second. At the same time, Pavlovic was closing back up on NuÃ±ez. Hanley started to put Baguette under pressure at the start of lap 10. One lap later, he took the lead with a magnificent move at the end of the main straight.
Miguel Molina, back in seventh position, was handed a drive-through penalty for having performed a dangerous manoeuvre at the start of the race. This allowed James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) back into the points.
By the mid-point in the race, Ben Hanley was already well clear: the RDD driver had a 3.8 second lead over Baguette while NuÃ±ez was clinging onto third place ahead of Pavlovic, Parente and Albuquerque.
On lap 19, Albuquerque took 5th place from Parente. It was the last incident of any note in this last race of the Formula Renault 3.5 season. Once the race was over, Alvaro Parente did however show the crowds just how overjoyed he was by treating them to a whole series of 'doughnuts'!
Ben Hanley: "I got off to a good start, but Alejandro forced me off onto the grass. I didn't want to risk being involved in a collision right from the start and I knew that my car was going to be quick throughout the race. So I decided to bide my time. I'm happy to win the last race of the season and hold onto my 2nd place in the Championship."
Bertrand Baguette: "Alejandro and Ben helped me take the lead from the start! I was very quick over the opening three laps, but then I started to suffer from a lot of oversteer. Ben was very quick and it would have been useless to try and put up any resistance."
Alejandro NuÃ±ez: "I knew that things were going to be difficult from the start as we were having clutch problems. I couldn't stay with the pace set by Ben but I attacked from start to finish without making any errors to secure this podium."