WSR: Rowland wins Formula Renault 3.5 season-opener at Motorland Aragon

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British racer Oliver Rowland claimed the first win of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season at Motorland Aragon on Saturday, inheriting the victory from Meindert van Buuren after the Dutchman was slapped with a time penalty.

The Formula Renault 3.5 series is the headline event on the World Series by Renault (WSR) package, and is intended to be a rival to GP2 as the final step for young drivers before reaching Formula 1.

The new season kicked off in Spain on Saturday, with Lotus driver Matthieu Vaxiviere claiming pole position. However, a poor start saw him drop down to fifth by the end of the first lap, narrowly avoiding contact with his teammate, van Buuren.

Jumping from fourth to first on lap one, van Buuren looked to take control of the race and open up a lead to Rowland in second place, only to be hit with a time penalty after the stewards found that he had jumped the start. With 20 seconds to be added to his final time, the race became a case of damage limitation for the Lotus driver.

Rowland remained in a comfortable second place throughout the race, knowing that so long as he kept van Buuren in sight, he would win the race. However, he was kept honest by Fortec teammate Jazeman Jaafar in third place whilst Vaxiviere was stuck in fifth behind Red Bull junior driver Dean Stoneman.

The race was largely uneventful in the way of overtaking, with the most notable fight coming between Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi and Bruno Bonifacio, with debutant Roy Nissany also duelling with the drivers despite being two laps down.

Van Buuren crossed the line with a 3.6 second advantage over Rowland, but dropped to fifth after his penalty was applied. Jaafar was classified in second place, 2.1 seconds behind race winner Rowland, with Stoneman completing the podium ahead of the two Lotus drivers.

“I wasn’t expecting to win,” Rowland admitted after the race. “The low downforce configuration brought so many differences and if someone told me yesterday, I wouldn’t have believed them!

“At the start, the Lotuses didn’t leave me any room and I did everything I could to avoid contact. I soon wondered if Meindert hadn’t maybe jumped the start because mine was good.

“I tried to maintain the gap between myself and Jazeman and I am very happy with this victory!”

For the complete classification of race one, click here. Race two takes place on Sunday at Motorland Aragon, with qualifying being held in the morning.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.