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WSR: Rowland victorious again at the Nürburgring

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Oliver Rowland continued his march to the Formula Renault 3.5 championship by claiming his sixth win of the season at the Nürburgring on Saturday.

Rowland clinched pole position in qualifying on Friday, and managed to convert it into another win with relative ease as he went lights-to-flag at the German circuit.

McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries posed the greatest challenge to Rowland at the front of the field, lurking just one second behind the Briton in the closing stages of the race.

However, he was unable to bridge the gap, allowing Rowland to cross the line and extend his lead at the top of the championship standings.

“I want to thank the team because it has accomplished a fantastic job in order for us to have the best car possible,” Rowland said. “After the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, we have managed to maximize the performance.

“I was a bit clever at the restart as I remembered in an NEC race here where Nyck passed four cars at the first corner. I just had to be a bit braver in the last two corners.

“We are in a good position. We will try to get the double, which will keep us from not thinking too much about the title.”

Championship rival Matthieu Vaxiviere had a quiet race en route to fourth place behind Jazeman Jaafar, whilst Tom Dillmann and Tio Ellinas finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Silverstone podium finisher Pietro Fantin crossed the line seventh ahead of rookies Gustav Malja and Egor Orudzhev. Alfonso Celis Jr. rounded out the points in P10.

With this win, Rowland’s lead at the top of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship stands at 49 points, leaving Vaxiviere with plenty of work to do in the remaining five races of the year.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”