Silverstone 2008: Duran strikes gold
7 June 2008
Salvador Duran has taken his second career World Series by Renault victory after destroying the opposition in the first race of the weekend at Silverstone.
The Mexican driver was in imperious form as he battled his way up from fifth on the grid to overtake long time leader Marcos Martinez on lap 19 and, remarkably, pull out a winning margin of 13 seconds in just seven laps.
One of the frontrunners all weekend, Duran adopted a low profile in qualifying to claim the fourth fastest time, which duly equated to fifth on the grid for the reversed first race.
From the off though it was all about Martinez, who catapulted off the line from third on the grid to thread his Pons Racing car up into the lead by Copse, ahead of pole sitter Alvaro Barba and Fabio Carbone.
Indeed, the battle for the lead between Martinez and Barba garnered most of the coverage in the early stages of the race, with the two Spanish drivers dueling intensely for several laps as they pulled away from the competition.
Eventually, Duran came into play, the Interwetten Racing driver having been running fifth in the early stages before Marco Barba spun off in front of him on lap two and he slipped past Carbone on lap six when the Brazilian made a mistake under pressure.
Despite a seemingly damaged front-wing, Duran quickly caught up with Barba and began to hound him. The battle was exciting as they fought side-by-side with one another on several occasions before Duran finally made a move stick on the outside of Abbey on lap 11.
Setting off in pursuit of Martinez, who had now pulled out a three second lead, Duran stretched his legs as he reeled him in, eventually latching onto the back of his car on lap 16. Although Martinez resisted as long as he could, a better run out of Becketts saw Duran draw up alongside and simply draught through into the lead.
From here Duran needed no invitation to pull away, lapping almost two seconds a lap faster as he powered to his first win since victory on his debut at Monza last season.
Whilst frustrated to lose out on victory, a maiden podium for Martinez left him more than satisfied, while Barba finished a distant third as he suffered problems in his Prema Powerteam car during the latter stages.
Outside the top three, things behind were a little more frenetic. Having first held off the advances of his Ultimate Signature team-mate Esteban Guerrieri early on, Carbone then came under pressure form Giedo van der Garde all the way to the chequered flag. Nonetheless, fourth place still marks his and the team's best result since entering the World Series.
van der Garde eked out his championship lead further in fifth place, the P1 Motorsport driver safe in the knowledge that closest rivals Mikhail Aleshin and Charles Pic failed to score, the former retiring when his rear-wing flew off down the Hangar Straight and the latter finishing down in 15th.
Guillaume Moreau shadowed van der Garde throughout the race but had to make do with sixth for KTR, ahead of Bertrand Baguette and Julien Jousse, the Frenchman fighting his way up from 14th on the grid.
Marco Bonanomi was ninth for Comtec, ahead of Robert Wickens, who scraped the final point in tenth after going off whilst running sixth on lap 18.
Elsewhere, James Walker was not quite able to do enough to get into the points after battling his way up from 18th to 11th, but Duncan Tappy showed well to finish 16th on his debut in race that saw just three retirements. Pippa Mann finished 19th.