McLaren junior driver Nyck De Vries took his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 win at the final race of the series in Jerez today.
The DAMS driver took the lead of the race from the second lap, after the Safety Car came out for contact between Dean Stoneman and Alfonso Celis Jr at the start. Polesitter Oliver Rowland was leading at this point, however the Fortec driver went wide at the final corner and dropped to fourth, promoting the DAMS driver to first after a lighting start.
Also losing out at the start was Matthieu Vaxiviere, who was now third behind Egor Orudzhev. The pair battled for position when the Safety Car came in, and when the pitstop window opened Rowland dived to the pits first. After looking racy behind Orudzhev the Lotus driver made his move, this time on the inside into turn one. As they went side-by-side Vaxiviere made contact with Orudzhev’s front right, puncturing his tyre and costing them both time to Rowland, who emerged ahead of Vaxiviere once the pitstop phase finished at the top.
Whilst all that went on De Vries had managed to pit and come out in first without losing position to those who had yet to pit, with a comfortable nine second gap to Rowland. But that suddenly got shorted when Roy Nissany found the gravel trap at turn one with a left rear puncture. Also taking to the pits was Andre Negrao also pitted for a new front wing, likely as a result of contact between the two.
When we restarted again De Vries was able to jump ahead of an impatient Rowland, who was side-by-side the DAMS driver at the Safety Car line. This allowed Vaxiviere to latch onto the back of the Fortec driver for the remaining couple of laps.
Also battling for position in a late challenge for fifth was Tom Dillmann with Gustav Malija. The pair were nose-to-tail in the final couple of laps, with the Carlin driver trying every move on the Strakka car, who looked like he went to the ‘Orudzhev school of defensive driving’ in the closing stages. It proved to be good enough, with Malija ahead at the chequered flag, whilst the leaders; De Vries, Rowland, and Vaxiviere finished first, second and third respectively.