Matthieu Vaxiviere won the second Formula Renault 3.5 race at Aragon after a controversial coming together with long-time race leader Nyck de Vries on the final lap.
The contact between the pair came on the exit of the hairpin, as Vaxiviere passed de Vries around the outside on a drying track after the race had been interrupted by heavy rain.
A Safety Car start was required after a deluge had hit the Aragon circuit following the conclusion of qualifying, and after 13 minutes of formation running the red flags were shown due to worsening visibility.
Proceedings got back under way after a 20-minute delay, with poleman de Vries leading Vaxiviere when the Safety Car peeled in after a couple more laps.
The McLaren-backed driver proceeded to build a healthy cushion over the rest of the field with the benefit of a clear track, but as conditions improved he was steadily reeled in by Vaxiviere, with nothing to separate the pair once they made their mandatory stops together.
With the track still damp off-line, the Lotus driver found himself unable to pass de Vries until the last lap, when he darted to the outside on the approach to the hairpin at the end of the back straight, getting better traction at the exit to put himself alongside.
De Vries then clumsily made a belated attempt at covering Vaxiviere, resulting in contact between the pair that left the DAMS car worse off and three seconds down at the flag. The collision was investigated by the stewards, but no action was taken.
Behind, Oliver Rowland was a distant third, losing touch with the leading duo early on after fending off an attack from Fortec teammate Jazeman Jaafar but staying well clear of those behind. The Brit now leads Vaxiviere by three points at the top of the drivers’ standings.
Tio Ellinas was the biggest mover, the Strakka driver jumping up to fourth place in the stops ahead of Carlin’s Tom Dillmann, with Meindurt van Buuren (Lotus) and Dean Stoneman (DAMS) next up as Jaafar slid down the order in the closing laps.
Alfonso Celis Jr (AVF) secured ninth place, while Roberto Merhi (Pons Racing) held off a gaggle of cars to claim the final point in 10th for Pons Racing.
|2||Nyck de Vries||DAMS||3.459|
|3||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||9.926|
|4||Tio Ellinas||Strakka Racing||20.518|
|6||Meindert van Buuren||Lotus||29.111|
|8||Jazeman Jaafar||Fortec Motorsports||32.629|
|10||Roberto Merhi||Pons Racing||48.122|
|12||Egor Orudzhev||Arden Motorsport||48.842|
|14||Aurelien Panis||Tech 1 Racing||1m00.323|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Arden Motorsport||1m10.161|
|17||Roy Nissany||Tech 1 Racing||1m11.100|
|18||Philo Paz Armand||Pons Racing||1m11.787|
|20||Gustav Malja||Strakka Racing||1 Lap|