Aragon F3.5: Orudzhev leads AVF 1-2 in Race 1
Egor Orudzhev kept calm to take his first victory of the 2017 Formula V8 3.5 season in dominant fashion at Aragon on Saturday, leading an SMP Racing by AVF 1-2 ahead of teammate Matevos Isaakyan.
Pietro Fittipaldi started on pole position, but struggled to get off the line, falling down the order as the field streamed past his Lotus, with fellow front-row starter Orudzhev taking the lead.
Things then got even worse for Fittipaldi as he had a contact with the Teo Martin Motorsport machine of Konstantin Tereshchenko, and spun into retirement after just four corners, putting a dent in his title aspirations.
After a brief safety car stint to recover Fittipaldi’s machine, Orudzhev led and pulled out an ever-increasing advantage over Roy Nissany and Force India reserve driver Alfonso Celis Jr.
There was a tight battle for fourth place, with Nissany’s RP Motorsport teammate Yu Kanamaru holding off Isaakyan.
The Russian then forced Kanamaru into a less-than-ideal line through turns 14 and 15, and drafted the Japanese driver into the tricky turn 16 hairpin.
Making the pass up the inside, the recovering Tereschenko then seized the advantage, going around the outside of Kanamaru to demote him by another place.
Championship leader Rene Binder, Fittipaldi’s teammate, started from a poor ninth place after having two of his qualifying laps deleted, but soon found his way past Kanamaru and Tereschenko.
Ahead of this fight, Celis Jr was catching Nissany and on Lap 12 of 23, he attempted to sneak past on the pit straight, but was held off, and slid wide.
This allowed Isaakyan to catch up, and he made a bold pass on the outside of turn 14 two laps later to take over third.
The Russian wasn’t finished there though, as he caught Nissany ahead and passed him for second with three laps remaining, leaving Nissany vulnerable to the Fortec Motorsport machine of Celis Jr and Binder behind.
Celis Jr finally made the move on the final lap into turn 16, snatching the final podium position to secure third, behind Orudzhev.
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