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WSR: De Vries wins last ever Formula Renault 3.5 race

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McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries claimed the final win of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season and of the championship itself ahead of its rebrand for next year.

Renault will no longer promote and run the series from 2016, handing control over to RPM Racing when it will become Formula 3.5.

Series champion Oliver Rowland started Sunday’s finale at Jerez on pole position, but a mistake on the first lap handed the lead to de Vries after the Dutchman made a flying start from third on the grid.

Rowland managed to rise up into second place after getting the undercut on Matthieu Vaxiviere and Egor Orudzhev, and closed up on de Vries at the front when a safety car period eradicated his ten second lead.

De Vries managed to control the gap to Rowland in the closing stages after the race restarted before crossing the line to record his first victory of the season with DAMS.

Rowland finished 2.5 seconds behind de Vries, narrowly edging out series vice-champion Matthieu Vaxiviere for second place at the line. The result saw Rowland pass the 300-point barrier and end the season with an advantage of 73 over Vaxiviere.

In other news, RPM has published the provisional calendar for the 2016 Formula 3.5 Series season:

April 16-17 Aragon, Spain
April 23-24 Hungaroring, Hungary
May 21-22 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
June 25-26 Paul Ricard, France
July 23-24 Silverstone, Great Britain
September 10-11 Red Bull Ring, Austria
October 1-2 Monza, Italy
October 29-30 Barcelona, Spain
November 5-6 Jerez, Spain

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”