Formula Renault 2.0 - Rowland wins Moscow race

Manor MP Motorsport's Oliver Rowland took victory in the second Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race of the weekend at Moscow Raceway.

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Oliver Rowland (Imago)

The British driver held off the challenge of Esteban Ocon (ART Junior Team) to secure the win and move to the top of the championship.

Ignazio D’Agosto (KTR) finished third to join Rowland and Ocon on the podium.

"It was a very eventful start to the race. Pierre [Gasly] and Esteban [Ocon] ran wide at turn one, and I was in second place with the inside line," Rowland said. "But Pierre then shut the door on me. We were close to each other, so I couldn't avoid him.

"After that, it was a fantastic race. I tried to protect my tyres as much as I could, while looking to keep the best possible line to maintain my advantage on the straights."

During the morning's qualifying session, Ocon went fastest to claim his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 pole position. The Frenchman was joined on the front row at Moscow Raceway by Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing), followed by Rowland and D’Agosto.

Gasly started the race well, only to crash out just after taking the lead. Rowland took advantage and seized control of the race, ahead of Ocon, D’Agosto and a lively chasing pack. The safety car then made its first and only intervention to allow Gasly's single-seater to be removed from the track.

At the restart, Rowland and Ocon quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Ocon then piled pressure on Rowland, but the British driver held firm to cross the line first, less than two tenths ahead of his French rival.

D’Agosto completed the top three, followed by Oscar Tunjo (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and the Fortec Motorsports pair of Jake Dennis and Mikko Pakari.

Egor Orudzhev (Tech 1 Racing), seventh, was the best-placed Russian, with Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam), Luca Ghiotto (Prema Powerteam) and Ed Jones (Fortec Motorsports) all following him into points finishes.

"The first lap was pretty tough," Ocon said. "I was forced to take the outside line, and Pierre and Oliver then went past me. I tried to be quick enough to preserve the tyres and push at the same time. I was very close to Oliver, but he was really quick. It was a good race."

D’Agosto added: "I've worked so hard to get this first podium finish. I'm really happy, but I hope this is just the first step. It was a difficult race. The drivers behind me were pushing hard. I'd like to thank my team for their part in our performances today."

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