Wickens claims Race 1 victory at Spa
30 April 2011 – Robert Wickens secured his first Formula Renault 3.5 victory of the season at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon, leading home reigning British F3 Champion and fellow Carlin driver Jean-Eric Vergne. The Canadian crossed the line with a lead of 2.6 seconds back to his team-mate, while Albert Costa finished third after a first lap error.
Pole-sitter Wickens got away well at the start, but at the exit of Eau Rouge Costa launched an attack for the lead. The Spaniard briefly moved ahead at Les Combes, but braked too late and crucially ran wide. He not only lost the position to Wickens, but also saw Vergne flash by to take second place.
Wickens and Vergne quickly moved ahead of the rest of the field, but the Frenchman in second place never looked like threatening for the win. Positions at the front remained unchanged as the leading trio crossed the line, with Carlin enjoying a 1-2 finish ahead of Costa who was a distant third, almost 20 seconds off the lead.
Nelson Panciatici looked set to claim fourth place at the chequered flag, but the Frenchman was overtaken by Brendon Hartley on the final lap and had to settle for fifth. Russia’s Daniil Move was able to hold off Alexander Rossi for sixth, meaning the latter now loses his championship lead to Wickens. January Charouz was eighth, while Sergio Canamasas and Daniel Ricciardo were the last of the top ten runners.
Sunday's second qualifying session begins at 9am local time (BST +1)