Merhi takes advantage of rivals' collision
13 July 2014 – Roberto Merhi took advantage of a clash between championship leader Carlos Sainz Jr. and fellow contender Oliver Rowland by winning the second Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at the Nürburgring.
The Zeta Corse driver, who had dominated a wet qualifying session, led from start to finish in the dry encounter, fending off Lotus' Matthieu Vaxivière, whose team-mate, Marlon Stöckinger, completed the podium.
While pole-sitter Merhi enjoyed a clean getaway, drama ensued behind him; PONS driver Oscar Tunjo and Fortec's Rowland made minor contact in the Turn 1 bottle-neck, before Rowland tipped Sainz Jr. into the air and ultimately the gravel trap after his DAMS rival cut across from the outside.
All three drivers retired as a result, while a separate midfield collision saw officials deploy the Safety Car.
When the action resumed, Merhi and Vaxivière edged away from the rest of the field, the pair opting to stay out the longest before making their mandatory pit-stops.
Although Vaxivière showed brief signs of putting up a fight as the race entered its final laps, Merhi held on to claim his second win of the season and become Sainz Jr.'s main title challenger.
Stöckinger was a lonely third, while sole Fortec finisher Sergey Sirotkin regained his composure after a late mistake to cross the line narrowly ahead of AVF's Zoël Amberg and DAMS driver Norman Nato.
Strakka Racing's Will Stevens and Arden's Pierre Gasly were on a mission to bounce back from poor grid slots – Stevens 10th and Gasly 21st – and pitted as soon as the window opened to salvage seventh and eighth.
The final points of the day went to ISR driver Jazeman Jaafar and Will Buller in the second Arden machine.
The next round of the season takes place at the Hungaroring on the weekend of September 13-14