Crash.Net FR3.5 News
Martinez 'rains' again in Spain
19 April 2009
Just a day after celebrating his maiden World Series by Renault victory, Marcos Martinez has doubled up in front of his home fans at the Circuit de Catalunya for a perfect start to the 2009 season.
In a race disrupted by a rain shower a few laps into the race, strategic decisions shaped the final order, which also included Sten Pentus and Chris van der Drift on the podium in their debut World Series meeting.
From the start, pole sitter Charles Pic got away best, ahead of P1 Motorsport pair Danill Move and James Walker. In dry conditions, Pic sprinted away from the pack, pulling out a six second advantage in just three laps.
With Move unable to keep up, Walker attempted to overtake his team-mate but the pair instead collided, forcing the British driver – one of the favourites for this year's title – to retire early.
As the race progressed, early stoppers included Pasquale di Sabatino, Miguel Molina, Oliver Turvey, Move and Jaime Algusersuari, while Pic waited until lap ten to make his compulsory pit stop.
However, with darker clouds overhead and rain threatening, the handful of those still on track continued to push on in the hope that the heavens would open, which it duly did to force everyone back into the pit lane, save for Harald Schlegelmilch and Marco Barba who spun off into the worsening conditions.
The arrival of rain played straight into the hands of those that chose not to come in early, namely Martinez, Adrian Zaugg, Pentus, van der Drift and Adrian Valles, who found themselves filling the top five once everyone had resumed on treaded tyres.
In the lead of a race for the second time that weekend, Martinez very nearly threw it away when he and Zaugg slid off and handed the advantage to Pentus, only for the Estonian to make a similar error to allow Martinez back ahead.
The move would prove decisive as Frankie Provenzano would crash on lap 22 and prompt a red flag, with organisers duly deciding not to restart the race.
It meant Martinez and Pons Racing would prove immensely popular double winners in front of 90,000 home supporters, while the result also gives them a comfortable early lead in the standings.
Pentus held on for a remarkable second place finish on his Formula Renault 3.5 debut with the Mofaz Fortec Motorsport, while reigning Formula Master champion van der Drift and team-mate Valles were delighted to cap off a good weekend for Epsilon Euskadi in third and fourth position.
Despite his off, Zaugg can be pleased with his fifth place debut for Interwetten Racing after only concluding his race deal on the eve of the event, while Pic would find himself a slightly disgruntled sixth having been caught out by the rain.
Fairuz Fauzy made it two Fortec machines in the points, ahead of di Sabatino, who scored in the sole RC Motorsport car, while Brendon Hartley and Greg Mansell sneaked into the points in ninth and tenth for Tech 1 Racing and USR on their debuts.