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Racing on his home turf, Charles Pic 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 and Fabio Carbone, 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 started from pole, with James Walker beside him on the front row. Hampered by a clutch problem, Giedo Van der Garde 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 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 and the safety car was brought out. Siso Cunill 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!"
World Series by Renault
Tech 1 Racing
|Tech 1 Racing|
|16 Jan||Melker switches to FR3.5 with Tech 1|
|9 Feb '12||Bianchi suffers first F1 crash of 2012|
|17 Oct '11||Arden and DAMS to debut in 2012|
|19 Jun '11||Korjus takes victory in second race|
|World Series by Renault: Le Mans Circuit 2008|
|7 Sep '08||Photos: Saturday in Le Mans|
|6 Sep '08||Pic wins at Le Mans|
|12 May||Five drivers for Canada FOTA Fans' Forum|
|20 Apr||Video: Gutiérrez hits Pic in second practice|
|18 Apr||Pic not threatened by Kovalainen's return|
|12 Mar||Van der Garde: No internal rivalry at Caterham|
|World Series by Renault|
|22 May||Yelloly gets FR3.5 outing in Monte-Carlo|
|17 May||Sainz Jr. gets Zeta Corse seat for Monaco|
|28 Apr||Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Aragon|
|28 Apr||Huertas takes first win at wet Aragon|
|More Charles Pic photos|