1 August 2009
Lancaster opens World Series account in Portugal
Jon Lancaster held off the determined challenge of Bertrand Baguette to secure his maiden victory in the World Series by Renault in the opening race of the weekend in Portimao.
Baguette launched countless challenges on the Briton during the race but was unable to find a way through as Lancaster took his first win since making the step up from Formula 3, while new Toro Rosso F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari secured the final position on the podium in third.
Due to the extreme heat in the Algarve, the race was shortened to 35 minutes + 1 lap, with Lancaster starting from pole thanks to the reverse grid regulations ahead of Epsilon Euskadi pair Chris van der Drift and Dani Clos.
Lancaster got off to a flying start ahead of a fast-starting Guillaume Moreau while Baguette made a clean start from the third row. The start was action packed, with a collision between Van der Drift and Clos, which forced Carlin Motorsport's Oliver Turvey to run wide at turn one and plummet back down the order to ninth. Van der Drift was forced to retire, while Clos continued but had slipped down outside the top ten.
After a collision between Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and Prema Powerteam's Julian Leal, the safety car was brought out on the second lap.
Lancaster held onto first place at the restart, but Baguette was piling on the pressure as the pair ran together at the head of the field. Behind them, Moreau along with Tech 1 Racing's Charles Pic, Alguersuari, RC Motorsport's Pasqual Di Sabatino and Ultimate Motorsport's Miguel Molina had made up ground but Molina dropped back when he made a mistake under braking attempting to pass Di Sabatino, and dropped back to 14th place.
Lancaster held off Baguette as best he could, while Moreau did everything within his power to prevent Pic from overtaking him. Meanwhile Alguersuari had his own fight holding off Di Sabatino. Pic was the first to make the break, overtaking Moreau, who got his own back almost immediately. Alguersuari meanwhile took advantage of the situation to overtake Pic and snatch fourth place. He then set about Guillaume Moreau and climbed into third place.
Ten minutes from the finish, the safety car came out once more to separate the cars of Daniil Move, Turvey and Di Sabatino who had become entangled at the hairpin. Lancaster was in the lead once more after the restart, but within the chasing pack, the overtaking never stopped for a moment. James Walker took sixth place and Charles Pic pulled off a smart move when he overtook Guillaume Moreau to gain fourth.
In the end, Lancaster kept his cool and took victory ahead of Baguette, Alguersuari Pic and Moreau.
“It was a complicated race,” Lancaster said. “I had a small lead at the start, but they came out fighting. I was really concentrating on not letting Bertrand Baguette get past me. We're faster with every race. At Le Mans I came close to winning, but today I did it, I'm delighted!”
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