Oliver Rowland scored his third victory of the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship at the Hungaroring on Sunday.
Fortec driver Rowland – who made a poor getaway on Saturday – made a super start from fifth on the grid, surging into the lead before the first corner. He was pursued hard by Matthieu Vaxiviere’s Lotus-run machine in the early stages.
Vaxiviere pitted earlier than Rowland, in an attempt to undercut him – taking 29s in the pitlane after running wide at the pit entry – but Rowland’s Fortec team turned him around in 27.4s.
That gave Rowland an increased advantage as he rejoined, but Vaxivierre was on warmer tyres, and attacked him hard over the following lap – setting the fastest lap of the race by two-tenths of a second.
Rowland defended hard as the race entered its second half, fending off attacks at Turn 1 and the downhill left-hander that follows.
After repelling that initial assault, Vaxiviere attacked again. He was under half a second behind Rowland with a handful of laps remaining, but Rowland’s pace through the final corner was enough to make it impossible for Vaxiviere to attack him at Turn 1.
Rowland won the race by 1.5s, but is under investigation by race stewards – who did not state why.
Gustav Malja – who was only 10th yesterday – took a distant third, from sixth on the grid, ahead of Pietro Fantin who was passed for fourth during the pitstop cycle by Jazeman Jaafar.
Fantin also earned himself a 10s penalty for running over the white line at the pitstop exit, promoting Tom Dillmann to fifth as well as Tio Ellinas and Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi.