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
Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.
“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”
Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.
The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.
Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.
Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.
Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.
Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.
Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”