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Category: World Series by Renault

It was a day of severe weather and dramatic conditions for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team as they undertook both a wet qualifying and race with Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens in Paul Ricard today. The early morning qualifying session was delayed due to bad conditions which also blighted this afternoon’s race; however Magnussen made his way up the field to finish sixth while Stevens had another great start to finish the race just outside the points in 11th.

The early morning qualifying session today was delayed as the track was deemed too wet and windy to drive on. The session did get underway however it was called to a halt with the conditions not improving. The order of the day was to get a quick lap in early in the session, unfortunately yellow flags and track conditions made getting the optimum lap very difficult.

As qualifying progressed the track became greasier as it dried giving very few opportunities for drivers to move up the grid. However Stevens was one of the few who was able to, and he took the flag in 18th position. Team mate Magnussen had been lying in the top 10 for the majority of the session however as the times fell he took the flag in 13th.

With just a few minutes before the race began the weather took another turn for the worse with rain falling over the circuit. A quick change to wet tyres before heading to the starting grid and both Magnussen and Stevens were ready for what was inevitably going to be a tricky race.

As the lights went out both drivers had good starts and handled the ever changing conditions well. By the end of the first lap Magnussen had made his way up to ninth and a quick starting Stevens was in 11th. However as the race continued the track developed further with the positions at the front of the grid changing on a lap by lap basis.

For Magnussen and Stevens they were able to hold their positions in the race well. However in the final few minutes the rain fell heavier again seeing a couple drivers spin out of their positions and fall down the grid. Magunssen benefited from this and a great overtaking move on a struggling Robin Frijns saw him make up another position to come home in sixth. Team mate Stevens was just outside of the points after another strong race to finish 11th.

Kevin Magnussen said of the day’s action, ‘Qualifying was a little difficult for us this morning and I was disappointed to not have been higher up the grid. My start wasn’t the greatest however those around me lost positions and I could take the advantage and take places in the first lap. Towards the end of the race Robin [Frijns] was struggling so I was able to take a further position from him. It was a case of not taking any risks and just settling into the rhythm to take a good finish and more points.’

Team mate Will Stevens added, ‘Qualifying was tricky for everyone today – we hadn’t driven here in the wet and I didn’t get a lot of running yesterday anyway. The race was tough; I had a good start which I’m pleased with but the conditions were difficult despite the pace being good. Towards the end when the rain fell heavier it was a case of just concentrating on bringing the car home.’

It was a day of mixed fortunes for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team in Paul Ricard today during collective testing in which Kevin Magnussen was the man to beat during the afternoon session, lying near the top of the time screens throughout the hour and a half test. However team mate Will Stevens found his afternoon disrupted after an engine related electrical problem left him sidelined and unable to complete a flying lap.

As the day’s running got underway Magnussen was forced to sit out the first 20 minutes following a post-race penalty handed to him last time out in Hungary however a red flag period during this time also brought the rest of the field into their respective garages. Stevens, who had already been out on track and set a handful of flying laps, joined his team mate in the garage before re-taking to the track and lying in 23rd place as the times began to fall.

When Magnussen was able to join the track he quickly began to move his car up the order however a right rear puncture briefly brought him back in to the pits. With the damaged tyre replaced he was then able to put in a flying lap to place him in 11th before dropping to 13th place as a second red flag period disrupted the session. In the latter stages Stevens was laying down rubber in the pit box and completing the test schedule in ahead of the rest of the weekend.

With Magnussen back on track he once again began moving up the order as the time began to count down, and when the chequered flag fell he crossed the line in fourth overall; while team mate Stevens was 25th.

For second practice Magnussen was once again immediately on the pace, his first flying lap was quick enough to see him head the field and stay there for the opening laps. Stevens however was unable to make his way out on track after an engine related electrical problem left him in the garage while the team worked to resolve the problem.

Meanwhile Magnussen was still making great progress and getting faster with each lap. Despite briefly losing position to Alexander Rossi, Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa the Carlin man was quick to take the place back in the last 10 minutes of the session where he stayed as the days running came to an end.

Stevens, who had spent almost the whole afternoon test in the garage, was able to get back out on track with just a few minutes to go however as a result he was unfortunately unable to set a flying lap during the session.

Reflecting on the day Kevin Magnussen said, ‘We had a good pre-season test here earlier in the year so we knew that the pace would be good. Overall today was a good day for us, we were quick in the morning session despite not completing a lot of laps and in the afternoon we were fastest to begin with and we were able to keep getting faster as we continued.

‘We’re looking likely to see rain this weekend but I’m hoping for a dry qualifying session tomorrow because I’m feeling confident with where the car is after today. Overall, I’m feeling good heading towards the rest of the weekend and I’m keen to get the win I missed out on in Hungary!’

Alexander RossiArden Caterham FR 3.5 driver, Alexander Rossi was denied the deserving results for World Series by Renault Round 7, after qualifying luck kept him starting each race from the top two rows. Like Silverstone for Round 6, the Banbury, England based team showed their pace was equal to more established FR 3.5 teams, competing at the sharp end in all sessions over the weekend.

Alexander Rossi was on pace in Friday practice, ending the day 5th quickest overall. Hungaroging is a relatively short circuit with lots of medium and high speed corners IS notorious for difficult qualifying with respect to potential traffic, making it very challenging for a driver to consistently complete a lap without being held up. For Race 1 qualifying, Rossi was on pace for front row start, up over .5 seconds in the first two sectors when encountered a gaggle of cars staging for their gap in sector three, thus forcing the Caterham F1 test driver to abort a blistering lap. Starting P8 for race one, Rossi and Sorenson fought for position most of the first lap, when Nico Muller slotted past them both with the race settling down shortly after that. Hungaroring also known for a difficult place to overtake and proved that again in race 1, as the race preceded to finish in a fairly tightly spaced procession, Rossi finishing 9th.

Rossi was not the only driver over the weekend to experience qualifying woes, but he was denied again in Race 2 qualifying. Rossi ended first stint (15 minutes in qualifying) P2 and only 1/10th off quick time. During the 2nd stint in qualifying and new tires, drivers attempt to find that elusive gap, slowing down to almost to a stop in the final sector, which is uncommon to most circuits. Rossi up in sector one and two and looking to have another 1st or 2nd row start had to abort for a second time over the weekend in sector three due to traffic, lining up P10 for race two.

Race two, Rossi had a good start and side by side with Jules Bianchi, fighting for position the better part of lap one. Rossi was finally able to capitalize on Bianchi, when he pitted for rear tires and found himself in clean air for three laps thereafter to put in the fastest lap of the race, at 1:30:778. Shortly thereafter Rossi caught up with Korjus, while quicker and placing pressure was never able to overtake, finishing in 8th position.

Saturday Qualifying One
Best time: 1:29:225
Qualifying Position: P8

Saturday Race One
Best time: 1:32:759
Finish position: P9

Sunday Qualifying Two
Best time: 1:28:729
Qualifying Position: P10

Sunday Race Two
Best time: 1:30:778 – FASTEST LAP OF THE RACE
Finish position: P8

Alexander Rossi – “Hungaroring is infamous for being a track that is very difficult to overtake on, so going into the weekend we knew how important qualifying was going to be. Based on our pace throughout the Silverstone weekend and Friday practice in Hungary, we knew that we could be challenging for the sharp end of the field. I had a great race car and thank the team, but unfortunately luck in qualifying was not on our side, as both qualifying runs were spoiled by traffic, with many cars waiting for gaps in the final sector, when I had to abort my lap. It is a characteristic of the track, but as we had the true potential to be in the top four in each session it was incredibly disappointing for everyone to finish qualifying in eighth position for race one and tenth for race two.”

“Saturday’s race was fairly anti-climatic, but Sunday was always going to be more intense as this is the mandatory pitstop race. The boys did a great job in the stop and we ended up coming home with the quickest lap of the race and picking up two positions, which shows the pace of the car. I think the team has done a fantastic job this weekend and I am very much looking forward to showing everyone what we can do at the next race in Paul Ricard. I won there last year and I will be looking to carry that sort of form through to the race in Paul Ricard in a couple weeks.

Julian Rouse, Arden Caterham Team Manager -”Alexander did a great job this weekend and his results don’t really reflect his performance and outright speed over the weekend. Both qualifying sessions were compromised by traffic, and with the Hungarian circuit being notoriously difficult to overtake on Alexander’s qualifying position made both races very tricky.

“However, this weekend has re-affirmed our belief that the team has made big steps forward and we look forward to a very competitive final two races.”

Next Round for World Series by Renault, FR 3.5 is Round 8, Paul Ricard, France – September 28th – 30th.

Arthur PicArthur Pic enjoyed a productive Formula Renault 3.5 weekend at the Hungaroring (15/16 September) as two points-paying finishes for the DAMS driver promoted him to fifth in the championship standings.

Following a stellar recovery drive to fourth at last month’s Silverstone event, the Montélimar native travelled to the Hungarian Grand Prix venue seeking another strong points haul.

He began well with fourth on the grid for Saturday’s opening contest, though with his fastest lap spoiled by yellow flags the 20-year-old was left feeling that a spot on the front-row had been within reach.

Pic was able to hold his position on the dash to turn one despite starting on the right-hand side of the notoriously dusty Hungaroring track. Settling into a rhythm, the DAMS driver fought an entertaining duel for fourth with Antonio Felix da Costa. Though Pic would eventually lose out on the spot he was nevertheless able to chase the Portuguese home and secure a crucial 10 points.

Building on this, Pic delivered a superb qualifying effort in Sunday morning’s session to grab third on the grid, giving him legitimate hopes of challenging for victory come the afternoon’s race.

However, his chances were dealt an unfortunate blow at the start when the pole-man failed to get away directly ahead of him, forcing Pic onto the grass and allowing a number of cars to slip past.

From there the Frenchman would continue to show impressive pace but ultimately had to settle for a sixth place finish, taking the chequered flag just over a second behind championship leader Robin Frijns.

Arthur Pic: “Overall Hungary was a good weekend for us. In race one I got a good start and was running P4 during the early stages. The car was a bit tricky to drive and I made an error that allowed Da Costa past at the end of the pit straight. After that we managed to hold on to P5, but the level of performance we’d hoped for wasn’t quite there.

“On Sunday morning we found a great set-up and qualifying went really well. We were missing that extra something that would have allowed me to take P1, but third was still excellent. Frustratingly the pole-man stalled ahead of me at the start and, though I managed to avoid him, I swerved into the grass and dropped back a few places. I then had a great battle with Frijns and by the closing stages we’d caught Sam Bird. I made a small mistake attacking him and Frijns got through, leaving me sixth at the finish.

“I have some regrets over Sunday’s race as the car was very quick and we had the potential to be on the podium, or perhaps even fight for the win. On the positive side however we scored good points in both races, which is great for the championship.”

Having secured a total of 18 points over the course of the weekend, Pic has vaulted a further championship position to fifth and remains firmly in contention to snatch fourth. The series concludes with trips to the Paul Ricard circuit in his native France (September 29/30) and Spanish Grand Prix venue Circuit de Catalunya (October 20/21).

Formula Renault 3.5 championship standings
1. Robin Frijns – 166 points
2. Jules Bianchi – 142 points
3. Sam Bird – 139 points
4. Marco Sorensen – 101 points
5. Arthur Pic – 94 points
6. Nick Yelloly – 92 points

For more information on Arthur Pic, please visit www.arthurpic.com

Photo by Dutch Photo Agency.

Kevin Magnussen will start today’s Formula Renault 3.5 race in Hungary from the front row of the grid after a competitive qualifying session at the Hungaroring this morning. The Carlin racer held provisional pole for the final minutes of the session, before his best time was beaten by Robin Frijns by just 0.028 seconds. Will Stevens will start from 11th on the grid this afternoon after being blocked on his best and final lap.

Following one wet and one dry practice session yesterday, today’s qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Magnussen and Stevens built up the pace slowly on the low grip circuit as their Michelin tyres reached their optimum performance.

With 17 minutes to go, Magnussen demonstrated the pace that had seen him go second quickest in practice yesterday, as he went second on the timing screens in qualifying. The young Dane improved again next time round with the quickest first and second sectors of all to go just 0.027 seconds off Frijns’ leading time.

As the majority of the field entered the pits to change for new tyres, Stevens had the track to himself and improved from 16th to go fourth quickest.

At the half way point, the Carlin cars looked strong, with Magnussen still second and Stevens fourth. On returning to the track, Magnussen was determined to go one better and improved his time to set provisional pole. Magnussen’s former F3 team mate Carlos Huertas briefly stole the top spot, but Magnussen went quicker again to take back provisional pole.

Several drivers improved in the final seconds, but none could better Magnussen’s time, that is until championship leader Frijns put in his final lap to better Magnussen by 0028 seconds. With no time to improve that left Magnussen second at the chequered flag. Stevens looked to be on a good lap with his final effort, and was setting his personal best sectors, but the young Brit was blocked by Jules Bianchi which left him in 11th.

Reflecting on his session, Magnussen said, “It’s nice to be on the front row, obviously I would have liked pole and I wasn’t far off, but I’m happy to be at the front. From the front row a good start is possible and from there the win. I’m really focused on adding some good points this weekend. The car feels great and this is a really quick circuit, there are such fast corners; it’s great fun. I’m really enjoying driving here.”

Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series team have enjoyed a successful day of testing ahead of this weekend’s seventh round of the season at the Hungaroring. Free practice this morning was a wet affair for Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens however this afternoon the track dried giving the team a clearer indication of standings. Magnussen put the tribulations of Silverstone well and truly behind him, setting the second quickest time of the day. Meanwhile Stevens was also looking strong throughout the second session and finished in 10th.

After a wet Silverstone it seemed conditions were following the championship around as this morning’s Collective Test got underway on a wet track. Keen to learn valuable data both Carlin men made the most of the 1 hour 15 minutes session; with Magnussen spending most of it lying within the top 10 – finishing in seventh overall and Stevens 18th.

With the track drying ahead of this afternoon’s Collective Test the times immediately tumbled as the field scrambled to take advantage of the track time before qualifying tomorrow morning. From the off, Magnussen was fast and had set the quickest time of the session while Stevens was also comfortably lying within the top 10.

Soon enough a battle for position at the top began between Magnussen, Robin Frijns and Arthur Pic. Although Magnussen held on to the top spot in the early stages Pic took the position away as the Carlin man was sitting in the pits having come in for a few quick adjustments.

Stevens rejoined the track after a pit stop himself and immediately began going quicker moving up to seventh position before then setting the fourth fastest time. However the track progressed which saw Stevens lose his position. On his final run the Carlin driver set a storming first sector, the fastest of anyone, before two strong final laps saw him finish the day in a solid 10th place.

Meanwhile Magnussen was still battling for the top spot however this time it was with Alexander Rossi, Antonio Felix da Costa, Marco Sorensen and Jules Bianchi. Despite the Carlin man setting the quickest time, the positions were changing on a lap by lap basis; and as the chequered flag fell it was Bianchi who came out on top with Magnussen a tenth of a second off in second.

Looking ahead to qualifying Magnussen said, ‘The car went well today, it was quick and we had a positive session. We have a little fine tuning for tomorrow’s qualifying but I think we can be strong here. The last time I was here was in a Formula Renault 2.0 car and it’s a lot quicker in the Formula Renault 3.5 car!

‘If it doesn’t rain tonight I think we can go even quicker tomorrow but I’m really enjoying the track and the car feels good.’

Leaving the heartbreak of Silverstone behind them Carlin’s 2011 Championship winning Formula Renault 3.5 team move forward to the seventh round of the 2012 calendar as they take on the Hungaroring – a track with happy memories for the team. Having already travelled as far afield as Russia and competed in at their home round at Silverstone the entire team, along with drivers Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens, look to capitalise on the speed which saw them take a great pole position with Magnussen at Silverstone last time out.

The last round at the Northamptonshire track was a tough affair for the whole team; Magnussen brilliantly put his car on pole position on Saturday morning for the first race of the weekend however after leading in the difficult wet conditions he hit a patch of water and skidded off track and into the barriers – a move many a driver would replicate over the course of the red flag affected race. Stevens had kept his car on track despite the adverse conditions and was leading the race however as things settled back into a rhythm he too fell victim to the difficult conditions putting him out of contention.

A great team effort to rebuild Magnussen’s car ready for the afternoon’s qualifying session ensured the Dane was able to qualify for race two – a feat that couldn’t be achieved by all teams in the pit lane with the amount of damage caused. Stevens came through the field during the second race of the weekend to clinch sixth position – his highest finish in the championship during his rookie season.

With the frustrations of Silverstone behind them, the team have high hopes for Budapest. The Hungaroring has been a happy hunting ground for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team with last year’s Vice-Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, taking both wins during a dominant display. The mass of points scored during the weekend moved the team into a position where they would be able to clinch the Team’s Title at the next round in the Championship.

The twisty 4.381 km Hungaroring circuit, located near the capital of Budapest will, as ever, hold two free practice sessions on Friday before the first qualifying session gets underway on Saturday morning in the run up to the afternoon’s race. Magnussen and Stevens will hit the track once again on Sunday for the final qualifying run and race two of the weekend.

After a tough showing last time out Kevin Magnussen said, ‘Silverstone was of course a difficult weekend for me but I’m looking forward to putting that behind me this weekend. The car certainly has pace as was proven by my pole position last time out and it’s something I want to replicate here and convert into a win.’

Team mate Will Stevens added, ‘Silverstone was definitely a step in the right direction for us. I had my best finish there, the pace was good and I believe that if we carry on in that direction we can have a strong weekend here. This is a track that I enjoy and feel familiar with. Two years ago I achieved a podium here in the Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Championship as a guest driver however last year was difficult for me – but it’s still a track I like to race at because it’s technical and a real drivers circuit.’

Multiple British F3 and Formula Renault 3.5 champions Carlin are to launch Test Week, a new kind of test event designed to give young drivers guidance on all aspects of junior motorsport. The Surrey based squad will have several F3 and 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 cars on offer during a three day test at Valencia from 15 – 17 October. The team can also offer driver coaching, media, fitness and nutritional guidance to drivers assessing the next step in their careers.

“The aim of this test event is to help young drivers assess their progress and give advice and experience to help them decide the next step in their career”, said Trevor Carlin. “We have a lot of experience in running young drivers for assessment purposes, for sponsors and F1 teams, and we can apply the same kind of feedback for those drivers who require it. For others, it can just be chance to get some mileage in a F3 or FR3.5 car. We have exclusive hire of Valencia and we won’t be publishing the results, so it really is a closed shop to allow drivers to assess what level they’re at.”

In addition to providing the technical expertise that has seen Carlin secure seven British F3 and three FR3.5 titles, the team will also be offering open access for drivers’ film crews for promotional and media filming. The team will also have a photographer on site to provide free high resolution images, with drivers able to apply their own sponsors’ stickers to the cars which will be in standard Carlin livery. Drivers will also be able take advantage of a sports science consultant on driver fitness and nutrition as well as warm-up, cool down exercises and injury treatment and prevention.

“We aim to offer our race drivers a one stop shop; a general package to help them both on and off the track,” adds Carlin. The idea of our Valencia test is to offer all this to drivers outside the team. We don’t normally get a chance to do this at official tests, and with testing and media opportunities so restricted now, we believe this is a great opportunity for drivers to tailor the package to their needs.”

Interested drivers should contact Andy Constable on information@carlin.co.uk

Alexander RossiA mixed weekend at Silverstone saw Arden Caterham’s Renault 3.5 driver Alexander Rossi fighting towards the top of the grid, demonstrating the progress that Alexander and the team have made over the recent summer break that puts them in position to fight for race wins throughout the rest of the season.

After a successful first qualifying session, which ended with Alexander P3, the team felt confident for the weekend ahead with a car that was consistently on the pace. In race on Alexander had a fantastic start to take the lead but the rain soon began to fall. Alexander and Arden Caterham chose to stay out for one more lap before pitting for wet tyres but unfortunately the weather deteriorated significantly, claiming a number of victims in race one with standing water at turn 7 forcing Alexander and eight other drivers off track and ending their races early.

Saturday Qualifying One
Best time: 1:57:571
Qualifying Position: P3

Saturday Race One
Best time: 2:08:667
Finish position: DNF

Sunday Qualifying Two
Best time: DNQ – Mechanical
Qualifying Position: P25

Sunday Race Two
Best time: 1:44:417
Finish position: P5

The impact left Alexander’s team with only a few hours to repair his car in time for the second qualifying session but despite their best efforts he Alexander was unable to take part in qualifying for race two, leaving him to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid in P25.

On Sunday Alexander drove an exceptional second race, gaining twenty positions and finishing in fifth place, securing ten more valuable points for his team.

Alexander Rossi: “On Friday we used a new engine after first practice and immediately found we were on the pace, ending the session three tenths off the leader. “Going into Saturday we were feeling very inspired and in a position to challenge for the front row in the first qualifying session. The morning qualifying was wet and we knew we had good pace in the wet and finishing third in qualifying and recording our second row two start since Monaco gave us great confidence for the weekend. For the race itself, the weather was dry as we lined up on the grid, but very variable as it started spitting rain as soon as the race began. Almost everyone was still on slicks as the track became increasingly wet on lap two and then at the start of lap three I took over the lead when Bianchi pitted for wets, however I was still able to find grip and pace on the dry line and using DRS the car felt great. The team and I decided to pit the following lap for wets if the weather deteriorated but when I arrived in turn 7 there was a massive amount of standing water, and under braking I hit a large puddle and eight other cars and I went off and into the barrier.

“This weekend the race format was different to normal with only four hours between Race One and Qualifying Two which meant that we were really pushed for time to get the car back up and running after the off. The team worked incredibly hard to get me out again, but we just didn’t have time and as I couldn’t take part in second qualifying I was then at the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.”

“For Sunday’s race the pressure was sort of off. Starting from the back of the grid meant I’d have the chance to overtake as many cars as possible and have fun doing what I love. My opening laps were good and I passed quite a few cars, but I got held up in traffic around lap six which allowed some of the leaders to break away which was obviously a little frustrating. However, once I was in clear air I could push. I used quite a bit of DRS in the middle stint running quick laps, so the last ten minutes of the race I was running quite low on DRS and beginning to lose the tyres so my aim was just to maintain position. When the guys ahead started fighting I saw there may be opportunities and I waited for them to make mistakes, which they did, and I ended up crossing the line in fifth which is a good result all things considered.

“Overall the car was very good and the team has proven throughout the entire weekend that we have a quick race car in various conditions and can now challenge for wins in the final races of the season. It’s a huge relief to know we can go to Budapest with the potential to fight for race wins, and work our way back up in the championship.”

Julian Rouse, Sporting Director Arden Caterham:
“Following the mid-season private tests we were pleased with the results from Friday’s free practice and feel we’ve really made a big step forward with the car. Although Alexander’s engine needed replacing following the first session on Friday, he and the car performed well during the second session and it was good to have two cars in and around the top six of the grid.

“In qualifying we felt comfortable in all weather conditions and although it was wet, the session went well and Alexander was competitive throughout. He put together his best lap towards the end, which is particularly difficult to do on these tyres as they generally only last for one or two laps, so he did brilliantly to qualify third on the grid.

“Race One was frustrating due to the typically changeable weather conditions of Silverstone. Everyone started the race on slicks, however it began to rain just one lap into the race, which made strategy very difficult for all the teams. As a group we took a decision on tyres that we felt comfortable with at the time, however the weather conditions deteriorated very quickly, more than we had anticipated. Unfortunately Alexander found himself in a situation on track where the conditions were simply un-drivable and it’s a real shame as he was looking extremely competitive and leading the race – obviously this also meant that we were the first car to come across the standing water at turn seven.

“In the crash Alexander didn’t do too much damage to the car, but as he was hit by a number of other cars there was substantial damage to his gearbox and engine. Despite the best efforts of the team, and due to the fact we only had a few hours to turn the car around ahead of the second qualifying session, we were unable to fix the car in time and had no choice but to continue working and start from the back of the grid.

“Race Two was an excellent result for everyone and it was truly deserved for the team. We had both cars in the top five, regularly posting fastest lap times and that was extremely pleasing for everyone. Alexander drove an absolutely fantastic race, very measured but also very decisive when he needed to be and he took every opportunity given. To come from 25th to 5th is an absolutely outstanding achievement and it really shows that the team has made good progress with Alexander’s help and support. He now has a competitive car and the opportunity to really showcase his talents, exactly as he did in today’s race.”

Kevin MagnussenStrong pace in the sixth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series led only to frustration for Carlin drivers Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens in a chaotic day of running at the Silverstone circuit. Magnussen led race one this afternoon from pole before crashing out in treacherous conditions, with team mate Stevens doing the same after inheriting the lead several laps later. It was a race against time for the team to repair both cars for this afternoon’s qualifying session, when Stevens qualified eighth, and Magnussen 17th.

Having qualified on pole this morning, Magnussen headed the field for race one as the drivers lined up on slick tyres in dry conditions. The Carlin driver made the perfect start to maintain the lead as the lights went out and break away from the field, just as the rain started to fall around the Northamptonshire circuit. Within a lap the conditions had deteriorated, with one side of the circuit dry and the other dangerously wet.

Magnussen did well to lead the pack, who were all shod with slick tyres, and with nearly a three second gap was looking on strong form. However, as the conditions deteriorated, the young Dane was caught out and flew off track at Becketts and into the barriers. With substantial damage, Magnussen was out of the race.

Stevens meanwhile had made a lightning start and had moved up to ninth place on lap one from 15th on the grid. The British racer stayed on track as almost half the field aquaplaned off at Luffield, until the Carlin man led the race as the safety car was deployed.

With insufficient recovery vehicles to collect the several cars off track at Luffield, the race was red flagged with the much depleted field returning to the grid. Stevens made the most of the stoppage to change to wet tyres, and led the cars away behind the safety car when the race restarted. The FR3.5 rookie did well to hold the lead after the safety car pitted, but spun off after being the first car to hit standing water at Stowe just a few corners later. Despite both Carlin cars leading the race, the team were left without points from the first race of the weekend.

As support series to the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend, it was a quick turnaround for the FR3.5 teams this afternoon, with qualifying for race two just a couple of hours after the chaotic race one. The Carlin mechanics worked against the clock to repair both cars in time for this afternoon’s qualifying session, making good the particularly heavy damage to Magnussen’s car.

The team’s efforts were rewarded early on as Stevens went quickest in the first minutes of qualifying, with Magnussen also competitive on his first set of tyres, going quickest before Nico Muller relegated the Carlin man to second.

After the field pitted for new tyres in the second half of the session, the times suddenly started to drop in the final minutes. Stevens continued to fight back and repeatedly set times in the top ten, while Magnussen struggled to make his way back to the top of the time sheets. At the chequered flag, Stevens had qualified 8th for race two, while Magnussen was 17th.

“The circuit felt completely different this afternoon,” said Magnussen. “I felt like I had both oversteer and understeer, but even so, my best lap didn’t feel like it should have been only 17th. It’s really frustrating after being on pole this morning.”

Team mate Stevens added, “There wasn’t much I could do in race one, I wasn’t even pushing that hard, I was being careful, but still aquaplaned off. I was relieved we had a dry qualifying session this afternoon, although there was oil everywhere, so it was easy to be caught out. The car felt good, but I think there is still more time to be found, which we’ll focus on before the race tomorrow.”

Team boss Trevor Carlin said, “The team should be very proud of their work so far this weekend. As well as a gearbox change last night, they had a lot of damage to repair today and did a fantastic job to get both cars – particularly Kevin’s – back out for qualifying this afternoon. It was a great team effort.”

Race two will conclude this weekend’s FR3.5 action at 9.40 tomorrow morning.