WSR: Rowland takes championship lead with Spa win


British youngster Oliver Rowland has re-taken the lead of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship after claiming his second win of the season in Belgium on Sunday at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

After clinching pole position for the race at Spa on Sunday morning, Rowland went lights-to-flag to win the race and wrestle the lead of the drivers’ championship back from Jazeman Jaafar.

With a win in Monaco and second place in the first race at Spa on Saturday, Jaafar had moved to the top of the championship standings, but was sent to the back of the grid on Sunday after qualifying due to a technical infringement.

The Malaysian driver did however fight his way back up to the top ten on just the first lap, and eventually finished the race in sixth place to limit the damage of his qualifying exclusion.

Saturday winner Matthieu Vaxiviere was unable to continue his good form on Sunday, finishing third to leave a six-point gap to Rowland at the top of the championship standings. Despite mounting a late charge for P2, McLaren junior Nyck de Vries was able to hang on and finish ahead.

The advantage at the top remains with Rowland, though, who made no secret of his happiness after bouncing back from finishing fifth on Saturday to win the race.

“I got a good start, but far from ideal, but enough to hold on to the lead,” the Briton explained. “With a different aerodynamic configuration from the others, I knew the rest of the race would be simpler and I stayed in front.

“I was able to build a gap, but the menacing rain began to fall in the final laps. Yesterday’s result was disappointing and I am pleased to have bounced back like I did.”

British driver Dean Stoneman continued his strong start to life in Formula Renault 3.5 by finishing fourth for DAMS, meaning that he remains the top rookie in the championship standings after three rounds.

The World Series by Renault championships will next race in two weeks’ time at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary.