Home News Oliver Rowland well clear in first Le Mans FR3.5 session

Oliver Rowland well clear in first Le Mans FR3.5 session

by Peter Allen
Oliver Rowland

Photo: Paolo Pellegrini/Racing Steps Foundation

Formula Renault 3.5 points leader Oliver Rowland finished up over seven tenths of a second clear of the field in the first of Friday’s sessions at Le Mans, ahead of a weekend where he can secure the title.

It was Rowland’s rival Matthieu Vaxiviere who led almost the entire second half of the 50-minute session, before Rowland hit the top inside the final five minutes.

Having already been four tenths up, he then nearly doubled that advantage with his final effort after the chequered flag, a 1m22.791s.

Rowland takes a 50-point advantage over Vaxiviere into the penultimate round of the season, meaning that maintaining that advantage is likely to be enough to wrap up the title.

Vaxiviere could only improve upon his own benchmark by three thousandths of a second in the closing stages of the session but was safe in second place.

Tio Ellinas, fresh from a win in each of the previous two rounds earlier this month was third, seven thousandths ahead of Dean Stoneman.

Andre Negrao adapted quickly to his first time back in an FR3.5 car for nearly two years as his father’s Draco team’s only driver for this weekend. The GP2 regular was fifth fastest, and the last driver within a second of Rowland.

Beitske Visser was a promising sixth ahead of Egor Orudzhev. Rowland’s Fortec team-mate Jazeman Jaafar was eighth with Nicholas Latifi ninth and Tom Dillmann 10th.

Nikita Zlobin rounded out the 19 drivers on his debut for Pons.

Session results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1:22.791 23
2 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1:23.568 0.777 19
3 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 1:23.696 0.905 24
4 Dean Stoneman DAMS 1:23.703 0.912 24
5 Andre Negrao International Draco Racing 1:23.741 0.950 23
6 Beitske Visser AVF 1:23.815 1.024 20
7 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1:23.885 1.094 24
8 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 1:23.992 1.201 24
9 Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 1:24.054 1.263 22
10 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:24.100 1.309 21
11 Nyck de Vries DAMS 1:24.292 1.501 23
12 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 1:24.339 1.548 25
13 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1:24.746 1.955 24
14 Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 1:24.846 2.055 22
15 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1:24.850 2.059 25
16 Yu Kanamaru Pons Racing 1:24.977 2.186 18
17 Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 1:25.125 2.334 22
18 Alfonso Celis AVF 1:25.399 2.608 10
19 Nikita Zlobin Pons Racing 1:27.251 4.460 17