FR3.5 » 1 January 1901
Wickens breaks duck at Silverstone.
A superb late pit-stop was enough to make Robert Wickens the fifth different driver to take a World Series by Renault victory this season following a thrilling drive at Silverstone.
Signalling a dramatic turnaround for a driver whose season has been riddled with bad luck thus far, Wickens may have started on pole position but had to rely on his Carlin Motorsport team to make the difference inn his fight with long-time leader Giedo van der Garde.
Also making up for his disappointment in the first race when he could only manage a ninth place finish, Wickens' win marks his maiden triumph in the series, as well as the first of the season for the Carlin at their home race.
Wickens had hoped he would have the pace to lead from the front, but much of his work was undone by a tardy start that allowed van der Garde and race one winner Salvador Duran to sneak ahead.
Indeed, van der Garde was showing no signs of backing off in order to protect his huge championship lead, the Dutchman immediately sprinting out into a comfortable advantage. Duran gave chase initially, having fended off the close attentions of Wickens in the early laps, but as the first round of pit stops got underway on lap six, the P1 Motorsport driver held a decent lead.
Both van der Garde and Duran pitted at the end of lap ten, releasing Wickens into the lead. It was exactly what the Canadian needed in order to stretch his legs to try and pull out a big enough gap for a clean pit stop.
Despite the threat of fading tyres, Wickens was the last driver to stop at the end of lap 14 and with the Carlin team turning him around in less than seven seconds, he set off on his way where he would emerge in front of van der Garde.
It was remarkably close though, Wickens pulling out just ahead of his rival and having to dart one side of the track in order to defend his advances. Saving a few leery bends as he got his tyres up to temperature, Wickens was nonetheless able to pull a small advantage over van der Garde.
Unable to find the outstanding pace that took him to victory in the first race, Duran nonetheless began to close the gap down to van der Garde, before seemingly struggling with gearbox woes that dropped him well out of contention.
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