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Carlin Motorsport’s Mikhail Aleshin has been crowned World Series by Renault Champion following a third place in a damp Race 2 at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday. The season finale itself, meantime, was won by Esteban Guerrieri for ISR.
Just to add to the excitement of this final showdown, this morning’s qualifying session took place under persistent rain. The timesheet continued to change, but it was Esteban Guerrieri who eventually came out on top. The Argentinean claimed his third pole of the season while, in second, Daniel Ricciardo contented himself with an advantage over Mikhail Aleshin, fifth, behind Comtec Racing’s Greg Mansell, third, and Pons Racing’s Daniel Zampieri, fourth.
The rain continued as the race began and, as a safety measure, the race management decided on a rolling start behind the Safety Car. Daniel Zampieri crashed out and, his race effectively over, Mikhail Aleshin climbed up to fourth. When the Safety Car pulled in Esteban Guerrieri pulled away from Daniel Ricciardo, Greg Mansell and Mikhail Aleshin. With visibility greatly reduced, Aleshin was keen to get past Mansell. The Brit span his car and handed third to Aleshin.
The Russian now found himself on Daniel Ricciardo’s rear wing. The proposition was straightforward; whoever finished first was the Champion. The leaders took advantage of the clear track ahead to delay their mandatory pit-stop for as long as possible. Esteban Guerrieri, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne stayed out for as long as they could before pitting for a change of tyres.
Daniel Ricciardo took his turn, leaving the pit with a three-second advantage over Mikhail Aleshin. Nevertheless, it took the Russian just a few laps to catch up with the Australian. The Carlin driver seemed the faster of the two and was clearly waiting for the right moment to attack. Meanwhile, everything was going great for Guerrieri, who was steaming ahead to his sixth win and final win of the season.
The scrap for the title was vintage stuff as Aleshin made a small error but was back up with Ricciardo within moments. The two drivers caught up with Jean-Éric Vergne, who was in second as a result of his pit-stop. Aleshin was clearly leaving nothing to chance. Three laps from the finish, having taken a number of corners virtually alongside each other, Mikhail Aleshin spied his opening and passed Daniel Ricciardo and claimed third. At that moment the title was decided. Daniel Ricciardo tried all he could to claw back his advantage but span out at the end of the race. It was all to no avail though as, while Esteban Guerrieri won the race, the happiest man on the track was Mikhail Aleshin, the new champion.
- Full Race 2 results
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