Wickens wins first Barcelona race
8 October 2011 – Robert Wickens extended his Formula Renault 3.5 championship lead to nine points by winning the first race of the weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya, crossing the line ahead of chief title rival and Carlin team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne. Russia's Daniil Move completed the podium runners, albeit finishing over half a minute behind.
"I was keeping my eye on that famous tower in the pit straight to see how Jean-Eric was doing, and when I saw that he was fourth I knew I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes," said Wickens. "I got a good pace going and the car was very consistent from start to finish. I did what I had to do today and that was win."
A strong start allowed Wickens to storm clear at the front of the field, whilst Vergne completed one of the finest comebacks in his racing career. Starting from ninth, the Frenchman ultimately progressed to second place, crossing the line 21 seconds behind Canadian Wickens. Despite stiff competition from Rossi, the final rostrum spot was sealed by Move, the same position in which he started the race.
Rossi therefore had to settle for fourth, with Sergio Canamasas in close company at the chequered flag. Nick Yelloly dropped off slightly in the latter stages of the race to finish sixth, just ahead of Frenchman Nelson Panciatici. Jan Charouz and Nathanael Berthon were next up, while Arthur Pic rounded out the top ten.
Sunday's Qualifying 2 begins at 10am local time (BST +1)