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Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 10:15
Holland's Nigel Melker scored a podium finish on his Lotus debut at Silverstone at the weekend during Round 6 of the World Series by Renault championship.

The first qualifying session was run in wet conditions, and season-long Lotus racer Marco Sørensen lined up for the Race 1 grid in ninth place with Melker down in 14th. Come the race, though, it was clear that the qualifying times were not representative of the Czech team's speed despite the changeable weather conditions. On Lap 2, though, bad luck struck Sørensen and he crashed out at Luffield along with several other cars due to gambling on slicks on a wet track. Melker also went off there but was able to rejoin, and when the red flags came out due to the number of stricken cars and the flooding, he was up to fifth. Come the re-start, the conditions remained wet and Melker kept his head down to finish a brilliant third on his Renault 3.5 debut.

In Saturday afternoon's second qualifying, Sørensen saw a return to form and secured second, while Melker was down in 18th. Race 2 wasn't affected by rain. At the start, Marco immediately seized the lead and built a gap over Sam Bird while polesitter Jules Bianchi fell back. The Dane looked set for a commanding win, but on the penultimate lap he suffered a puncture and was forced to retire. Nigel also experienced the blues, retiring after eight laps due to a technical problem.

World Series by Renault, 11

Lotus remains fourth in the team standings with 102 points, 72 behind leaders Tech 1 Racing, while Sørensen drops to fifth in the drivers’. Robin Frijns leads with 131 points.

Marco Sørensen: "I can't believe this happened, we were so close to another victory. The team did a great job and I am really happy that we had so much control of the race. There is no doubt that we have the speed, now we just need the last bit of luck."

Nigel Melker: "My first race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and I’ve got my first podium finish. I can be happy with that, but it was a difficult race. I struggled in qualifying and I was a bit lucky during the race, I must admit. But there was absolutely no room for mistakes. I’ll be in Hungary and perhaps [at another meeting] after that. I’ll need to speak about it with Lotus.”