Charles on «Pic» form!
Racing on his home turf, Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) has claimed his second race win of the season, after his success in the streets of Monaco. Pic had to contend with stiff competition from Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature), both of whom joined him on the podium.
With the sun shining, a sizeable crowd turned out to see the first Formula Renault 3.5 Series race of the weekend. Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) started from pole, with James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) beside him on the front row. Hampered by a clutch problem, Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) was unable to take his place on the start grid, withdrawing before the race.
Miguel Molina was the quickest to the first bend, followed by James Walker and Charles Pic, while Alexandre Marsoin (Epsilon Euskadi) ran off at the Dunlop chicane.
James Walker immediately came under pressure from Charles Pic and the two Ultimate Signature drivers, with Fabio Carbone just ahead of Esteban Guerrieri. Further back, Pippa Mann ran off, thanks in no small part to Fairuz Fauzy (Fortec Motorsport) and the safety car was brought out. Siso Cunill (KTR) was then forced to retire after falling foul of a bent tie-rod in his steering system following a collision.
At the restart, Miguel Molina led from Walker, Pic, Carbone and Guerrieri. The positions changed on lap 9, however, James Walker taking advantage of a mistake by Molina at the Garage Vert bend to move into first place. Behind them, a heated battle was developing between Charles Pic and Fabio Carbone, with the Brazilian overtaking the Frenchman before Pic bounced straight back to reclaim third place.
At the halfway point, the top five could not have been closer. Pic climbed to second place after passing Molina at the Dunlop chicane, and Molina now found himself under pressure from Carbone and Guerrieri. All this jostling for position allowed Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec) to make up ground on the leading pack
Charles Pic kept pushing hard and was soon right on Walker's tail. He began to look for a way past, but Walker did his best to hold him off. Meanwhile, the chasing pack led by Miguel Molina came right back into contention for victory. Thanks to some fine cornering, Pic finally took the lead on lap 17, leaving Walker in Molina's sights. Unfortunately, the British driver suffered a puncture in his left-hand front wheel and was forced to retire.
With 15 minutes to go, Charles Pic had opened up a lead of more than three seconds over Miguel Molina, Fabio Carbone and Esteban Guerrieri, and with no-one on his tail, he powered to his second race win of the season.
Charles Pic: «I'm really happy to have won this race in France. I got a good start, overtook Molina, then got stuck behind Walker for a few laps – it wasn't easy to get past him. Things got a lot easier once I was out in front on my own. This is a satisfying win because my engine let me down at the last two meetings and we only solved the problem yesterday!»
Miguel Molina: «One of my wheels locked at the start and the car became impossible to control. I veered off course and James Walker took advantage. I found the whole race hard, so this is a good result!»
Fabio Carbone: «I've managed another podium finish, which puts me second in the championship. I didn't take any risks. We've got a really good car. We'll fight right till the end, but we did well today.»
Pos Number Driver Team Laps Time GapFirst KPH
1 2 Charles PIC TECH 1 RACING 27 42:02.538 - 171.8 2 9 Miguel MOLINA PREMA POWERTEAM 27 42:10.767 +8.229 172.1 3 27 Fabio CARBONE ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE 27 42:11.199 +8.661 171.3 4 28 Esteban GUERRIERI ULTIMATE-SIGNATURE 27 42:11.687 +9.149 171.2 5 25 Marco BONANOMI RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC 27 42:12.240 +9.702 170.8 6 5 Mikhail ALESHIN CARLIN MOTORSPORT 27 42:13.059 +10.521 170.8 7 19 Salvador DURAN INTERWETTEN.COM RACING 27 42:13.390 +10.852 170.6 8 14 Aleix ALCARAZ PONS RACING 27 42:19.651 +17.113 169.7 9 1 Julien JOUSSE TECH 1 RACING 27 42:19.861 +17.323 170.7 10 4 Marco BARBA INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING 27 42:20.223 +17.685 172.5 11 8 Alexandre MARSOIN EPSILON-EUSKADI 27 42:24.807 +22.269 170.7 12 26 Pasquale DiSABATINO RED DEVIL TEAM COMTEC 27 42:25.295 +22.757 170.6 13 24 Fairuz FAUZY FORTEC MOTORSPORT 27 42:26.730 +24.192 170.0 14 6 Robert WICKENS CARLIN MOTORSPORT 27 42:27.193 +24.655 172.6 15 15 Marcos MARTINEZ PONS RACING 27 42:42.703 +40.165 168.8 16 11 Claudio CANTELLI RC MOTORSPORT 27 42:43.189 +40.651 168.8 17 17 Sergey AFANASIEV KTR 27 42:44.278 +41.740 168.7 18 16 Siso CUNILL KTR 24 42:28.730 3 Laps 169.8 10 Alvaro BARBA PREMA POWERTEAM 19 42:52.739 172.0 20 Pablo SANCHEZ INTERWETTEN.COM RACING 18 29:41.410 169.1 23 James WALKER FORTEC MOTORSPORT 18 30:21.042 171.3 3 Bertrand BAGUETTE INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING 12 19:56.978 171.9 7 Mario ROMANCINI EPSILON-EUSKADI 9 15:48.772 167.5 12 Paolo Maria NOCERA RC MOTORSPORT 8 14:06.874 166.5 22 Pippa MANN P1 MOTORSPORT 2 3:14.921 165.5 21 Giedo Van Der GARDE P1 MOTORSPORT 0