Webb back in the points despite difficult conditions at Spa

Posted on in Latest News

03 June 2013


Webb back in the points despite difficult conditions at Spa

Series:                   World Series by Renault FR3.5

Track:                    Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

Track length:      7.395 km (4.595 mile)

Date:                     31 May-02 June 2013


Qualifying 1:       Pos. 8;  Time: 1m59.986s  + 1.118s

Race 1:                  Pos. 12;  + 19.507s

Qualifying 2:       Pos. 18;  Time: 1m59.497s  + 1.0698s

Race 2:                  Pos. 9;  + 28.133s


A strong drive in challenging conditions saw British racer Oliver Webb secure a points finish in 9th at Round 4 of the World Series by Renault FR3.5 championship at Spa-Francorchamps. A determined drive in the weekend’s second race, and a late charge saw Webb secure further championship points.


With a risk of rain for Race 1, Webb made the most of the wet conditions during Free Practice 1, running a number of setup options to gain a better understanding of the car and grip levels. Drying conditions during Free Practice 2 saw Webb run on dry tyres for the first time and he was quickly up to speed, ending the session in 7th position.


During Qualifying for Race 1, the famous micro-climate of Spa-Francorchamps saw the circuit covered in blanket of thick fog, causing a delay to proceedings and the session to be cut short. Despite the difficult conditions, Webb pushed hard and was running comfortably in the top 10, but his charge was halted by yellow flags on his last flying lap of the session.  As he crossed the line, the BRDC driver secured 8th place for Race 1.


The start of Race 1 saw Webb on the defensive going into Turn 1, but maintained position through Eau Rouge and settled into a rhythm around the 7.395 km circuit. A late technical issue saw the anti-stall system cut in on Webb’s car on the entry into the La Source hairpin, leaving him defenseless and was unfortunate to drop to 12th place. Despite this setback, Webb pushed hard to the chequered flag but was unable to regain any of the lost positions.


A complete change in climate on Sunday saw the weekend’s second qualifying and race take place in warm and dry conditions. A competitive start saw Webb again running in the top 10, but a mistake on his final run of the session, as the track conditions improved, compromised his final laptime and would see the Knutsford-born driver line up in 18th place for the second race of the weekend.


Webb made a very strong start to Race 2, but was forced to take avoiding action immediately due to stalled car on the grid, precisely sliding passed the frozen car in front, pushing Oli wide off the track. This compromised his run down to Turn 1, and was pushed wide on the entry to Eau Rouge. Webb continued to push, and quick reactions at the top of the Eau Rouge section saw the young Brit avoid becoming tangled in an accident involving a number of the lead pack. The accident brought out the safety car and, following a well-judged restart, Webb immediately set about chasing down the points-paying positions.
As the race continued, Webb battled hard and, following a slick pitstop from the Fortec Motorsport team, he was quickly back out on track and showing extremely strong pace. As the race continued, Webb was consistently running as one of the quickest cars on track and gained on the pack in front by around a second per lap.


Running in P9 in the closing stages, a bold move saw him three-wide into the Bus Stop Chicane, but was pushed wide onto the slippery AstroTurf lacking traction, and was then compromised along the start/finish straight and down to Turn 1. This saw Webb drop out of the points positions, but he was able to capitalise on battles further up the field in the final laps, and eventually regained 9th place as he crossed the finish line. Webb’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne claimed victory at his home event, with Webb securing a double points finish for Fortec Motorsport.


Commenting on the weekend’s activities, Webb explained: ‘Overall it has been a good weekend, and I am really glad I was able to get myself back in to the points after a couple of disappointing races recently. We have some work to do on our qualifying pace, but I am happy with how we performed in the races. It is a shame that I wasn’t able to secure more points, but congratulations to Stoffel on his victory at his home race. That is a great result for him, and I’m really glad that we were both able to score points for the team.


Round 5 of the World Series by Renault series takes place at the Moscow Raceway, Russia over the weekend 22-23 June.


Log on to www.worldseriesbyrenault.com for additional details about the Championship. For information on Oliver Webb, visit www.oliwebbracing.com or follow him on twitter, www.twitter.com/oliverjameswebb.