Marco Sørensen brought the Czech Lotus team its debut win in the World Series by Renault Formula 3.5 at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday. But the team’s joy was tempered by Richie Stanaway’s heavy crash in Sunday’s race.
Marco Sørensen managed to avoid any trouble at the start of Saturday’s race and the Dane was running third when a safety car period interrupted things. The Lotus driver capitalized on a tussle between leader Kevin Magnussen and Sam Bird on the approach to La Source, and snuck into the lead. He was able to pull away and scored his first win in the World Series by Renault with a solid two second gap over the rest of the field.
By contrast, Richie Stanaway went through disappointment at Spa-Francorchamps. Not only did his qualifying go badly but during the warm-up lap he found the car’s pneumatic system was losing pressure. The Kiwi lost a lot of time in the pits and returned to the track only at the end of the race to collect some data and mileage.
Marco Sørensen: “The team had prepared a great car and I was able to follow the leaders easily without pushing hard. I saw Bird’s attack on Magnussen and thought that both would go wide. I took my chance and got to the lead. I am very happy. The team did a great job and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Richie Stanaway: “Four races, four technical problems. We are really unlucky this season. It had started already in the qualifying – I was coming to Les Combes where was lot of dirt on my second approach and I spun as if it was on ice. I did not set a time and during the warm-up lap I experienced a technical problem and had to pit immediately.”
Rain hit Spa again before the start of the second race and the race director decided to start behind the Safety Car to avoid possible multiple crashes at the first corner. Both Lotus drivers kept their position when the real race started. There were many crashes and trips across the gravel. One of them occured on lap 9 when Stanaway crashed into the car in front of him and was launched up into the air. He landed heavily and unfortunately sustained fractures to his fourth and fifth vertebrae. The New Zealander is now seeing medical specialists in Paris.
The race was stopped after Stanaway’s crash. Sørensen held 10th place after the restart and was ninth at the flag. However, Jake Rosenzweig and Lewis Williamson were penalised after the race as they had not done the mandatory pitstop and Sørensen moved up to seventh.
Marco Sørensen now lies fourth in the driver championship while Richie Stanaway is 17th. Team Lotus is fifth among the teams.
The whole Lotus family wishes Richie speedy recovery.