WSR: Rowland extends championship lead with Silverstone victory

© Renault Sport

Oliver Rowland extended his lead at the top of the Formula Renault 3.5 drivers’ championship to 36 points by winning on home soil at Silverstone on Sunday.

Rowland started the race from second place on the grid behind title rival Matthieu Vaxiviere, who stormed to pole position earlier in the day by posting a new lap record.

Vaxiviere made a good start to build an early lead over Rowland, but this was lost thanks to a slow pit stop that left the Frenchman down in third place.

Despite fighting back to re-take second place from Pietro Fantin and then close on Rowland at the front, Vaxiviere dropped back from the Briton to give him some breathing room.

Rowland eventually crossed the line to claim his fifth win of the season and his seven successive finish on the podium, tightening his stranglehold on the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.

“I have won every track this year, except Monaco and I also wanted to do it at home, even though I didn’t think I had much of a chance to do it at the start of the weekend,” Rowland said.

“I had to battle early on because Pietro was right behind me where I couldn’t see him. I attacked as much as possible and used the DRS to pull away and try to overtake Matthieu in the pits.

“The safety car didn’t make thing easy for me, but it is an excellent point scenario even though I am still not thinking about the title.”

With six races remaining, the Briton is in a strong position to following Carlos Sainz Jr’s footsteps and win the F1 feeder series, but will remain wary of the threat posed by Vaxiviere behind.

Fantin picked up his first podium finish of the season in third, beating Red Bull junior driver Dean Stoneman. Nicholas Latifi finished fifth ahead of Egor Orudzhev and Nick Yelloly, with the latter finishing seventh in just his second Formula Renault 3.5 race of the year.

The World Series by Renault programme heads to the Nürburgring in Germany next weekend for the third to last round of the season.