WSR: Ellinas claims maiden victory as support series driver escapes huge crash unscathed (VIDEO)

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Tio Ellinas claimed his maiden victory in Formula Renault 3.5 on Saturday as the World Series by Renault programme ventured to Silverstone in England.

Formula Renault 3.5 is the flagship series of the World Series by Renault programme, and has produced a number of Formula 1 drivers including Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Following a two-month break, the championship returned at Silverstone this weekend as series leader Oliver Rowland opted to miss the GP2 race at Monza so he could continue his title bid.

However, it was Strakka Racing driver Ellinas, formerly of GP2 and GP3, that scored pole position in the morning before converting it into his maiden FR3.5 victory with a dominant display.

The Cypriot went lights-to-flag en route to his first single seater victory since the final race of the 2013 GP3 Series season, charging his emotions into a positive result.

“The past two weeks have been difficult as I lost my grandfather,” Ellinas said. “I dedicate this win to him.

“The weekend started well, but we have struggled since the start of the year to convert our speed in practice into podiums.

“The start was a bit tricky and I felt a little bit of contact, but I then was able to create a gap. This victory is good for the team and me.

“I hope to continue the season like this and join the top three as Oliver and Matthieu [Vaxiviere] are very strong.”

Rowland recorded his sixth consecutive podium finish in FR3.5 by finishing second, extending his championship lead over Vaxiviere to 29 points after the Frenchman crossed the line in third.

The biggest talking point from Saturday at Silverstone came courtesy of the drivers in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, the series below Formula Renault 3.5.

Whilst running under safety car conditions, a collision resulted in Ferdinand Habsburg’s car being thrown high into the air before rolling once it returned to earth and then coming to rest the right way up (skip to 25s for the incident).

Remarkably, Habsburg walked away from the shunt unharmed, although the same could not be said of his car.