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


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.

Will Power shows Flavor Flav what time it is in IndyCar: ‘This is the highlight of the weekend’

Will Power Flavor Flav
Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

DETROIT – When Flavor Flav unexpectedly showed up in Team Penske’s pits for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix weekend, Will Power knew what time it was.

So the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion dropped it on the man who made oversized clocks as fashion accessories famous.

And he used the kind of wordplay that was the pride of Public Enemy (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rap group led by Chuck D with Flavor Flav as loyal sidekick).

“I said to Flavor Flav, ‘You know, people today are going to have to ‘Fight the Power,’ ” Power said with a broad smirk, referencing one of Public Enemy’s most memorable and strident anthems. “And it was true! They had to ‘Fight the Power.’ ”

With a second place in Detroit, the No. 12 Dallara-Chevy driver earned his best finish since last September and impressed a musical hero who apparently attended his first IndyCar race this weekend and promptly fell in love with the sport.

After being interviewed by NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee during the Peacock qualifying broadcast Saturday, Flavor Flav made the rounds.

He met with Roger Penske in Team Penske’s at-track headquarters, freestyled in an on-stage cameo during Steve Aoki’s Saturday night concert in Hart Plaza and then rode with Power in a pickup truck around the 1.645-mile street course during driver introductions Sunday morning.

Flav was wearing a red No. 12 shirt that Power believes was purchased at a track merchandise trailer.

“That is the highlight of the weekend,” he said. “Flavor Flav was wearing my shirt, man.”

It was a dream come true for the two-time IndyCar champion and 2018 Indy 500 winner. Power, 42, grew up listening to Public Enemy with his buddies in Toowoomba, Australia, and they went nuts when he posted photos with Flavor Flav to his personal Facebook page.

“My friends are like, ‘Dude, you should just quit racing now. You have made it to the top,’ ” Power said. “We all listened to Public Enemy, and they would never believe that I actually would be hanging out with Flavor Flav. That is nuts. I’ll have to go Vegas to hang out with him. Maybe we’ll do a rap together.”

“Yeeaaah, boy!” third-place finisher Felix Rosenqvist, who apparently might have given “It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” a few spins while growing up in Sweden, chimed in during the postrace news conference.

The only disappointment for Power was coming up 1.1843 seconds short of beating Alex Palou.

Flav had promised to celebrate on the podium if Power had won the race.

“He is the most positive dude you will ever meet,” Power said. “Pretty cool experience. Pretty cool to put it on your personal Facebook.

“All your friends that you went to school with, they’re like, ‘Man this dude is big-time, he’s hanging out with Flavor Flav. ‘I sat next to Ice-T at dinner. I have also had dinner with Slash from Guns N’ Roses. I wish I got videos of those ones as well so I could put it on the personal Facebook

“No one cares about race cars or that I won the Indy 500. It’s like, ‘You had dinner with Slash? You know Flavor Flav?’ Yeah!”

Power already has in mind some future musical guests he’d like to meet, starting with another of Detroit’s own.

“I’m more of a ’90s rap guy, but if I met Eminem, that would also be epic,” Power said. “Ice Cube’s the one, man. If I could meet Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg in Long Beach. Why doesn’t someone bring them to Long Beach? Maybe they should have an Ice Cube day. That would be dope.”