Oliver Rowland won todays crucial title race in Le Mans by 4.2 seconds from Egor Orudzhev and Tom Dillmann, after championship rival Matthieu Vaxiviere was given a ten second penalty for exceeding the track on numerous occasions – namely down at Dunlop.
The first occasion was on the opening lap when the Lotus driver made an aggressive move up the inside into turn two on Dillmann for third, then on the next lap he attempted the same around the outside on Orudzhev, which forced them both off track but allowed Vaxiviere to gain an advantage as he rejoined in second place.
The stewards didn’t do anything until Vaxiviere started to duel with Rowland up front for the lead, who defended beautifully through the first couple of corners on their first encounter. Then when Vaxiviere got another run he made contact with the rear left tyre of the Fortec driver, taking off his front wing endplate and nearly causing a puncture for Rowland.
The dropped the Lotus driver back into the clutches of Orudzhev, who made a risky move up the inside into Dunlop which forced them both to go off track and rejoin – however it was the third occasion for Vaxiviere, which earned him a black and white driving standards flag.
On the next occasion Orudzhev made a more measure move up the inside, but fearing contact on the tight circuit Vaxiviere took to his favourite escape road again, which earned him the ten second time penalty. That put him down to 10th at the end of the race and crucially with one point to Rowland in the title battle.
Not much else happened in the race further back with most of the drivers more or less finishing in the order they started. It did mean though that Fortec were able to secure their first constructors title in Formula Renault 3.5, but all eyes are set on Rowland who is on the verge of clinching the drivers title with three races left.