WSR: Rowland takes championship lead with Spa win

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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.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.