The World Series Formula V8 3.5 completed a historical event today in Austin as teams and drivers lined-up for the second and final race of the weekend at the spectacular Circuit Of The Americas. The weekend came to its conclusion one day earlier than usual due to the tie-up with the World Endurance Championship, which scheduled the 6 Hours of COTA on Saturday, but Race 2 of the RPM MKTG promoted series certainly was not short of excitement or unpredictability.
A phenomenal drive and a perfect strategy gave Russian Egor Orudzhev an extremely valuable result as the SMP Racing by AVF team delivered a perfect overcut for the lead, while championship leader Pietro Fittipaldi (Lotus) ended up into the barriers on lap 4, exiting his car unscathed, and yesterday’s winner Rene Binder (Lotus) got stuck on the grid having to content with P10. Orudzhev started well and went to P2 straight away, pushing pole sitter Alex Palou (Teo Martin Motorsport) for the lead. The Spaniard got to the pits for an early stop but caught traffic in the following laps while his rival opted for a late in strategy that saw him rejoin in the lead. After holding off the charge of rookie Palou on cold tires, Orudzhev never looked back to take his second win of the year. While Fittipaldi is still leading the driver championship, Matevos Isaakyan (SMP Racing by AVF) gained ground with a P6 finish while his teammate and fellow countryman is back in full contention for the title in third.
After the strategies unfolded, the second part of the race saw Isaakyan, who ran third for most of the time, come under attack by the recovering Diego Menchaca (Fortec Motorsports). The Mexican increased his pace as the day progressed and finally crossed the line in P3 for a great first podium finish.
In the closing stages, the battle became hot again for P5 with Isaakyan caught by more contenders. At first, Roy Nissany (RP Motorsport) got by and then Alfonso Celis Jr. (Fortec Motorsports) also forced his way past. In a further battle with Konstantin Tereschenko (Teo Martin Motorsport) the two then touched, but Isaakyan still crossed the line in P6 in front of Japanese racer Yu Kanamaru (RP Motorsport), who was also stuck on the grid.
After two overseas rounds in Mexico City and Austin, the World Series V8 3.5 is now ready for its grand finale which will be on another F1-grade circuit. The Al Sakhir venue in Bahrain will host the last two races of the year on November 17th and 18th. In the Middle East, the series will be joining forces once again with the World Endurance Championship in an highly-anticipated event.
Egor Orudzhev (SMP Racing by AVF)
“It feels very good. I had a decent start, fighting with Pietro and Alex. After that I did a great move in turn 1 on Pietro and I tried to keep up the pressure. Then maybe we boxed a little bit too late because of a miscommunication. I still came out in front and then defended to get my tires in. In the final part of the race, I was pushing every lap. Great job and big thanks to AVF and SMP Racing.”
Alex Palou (Teo Martin Motorsport)
“It’s always nice to be on the podium but it doesn’t feel great when you started very good from the pole and after the pit-stop you find yourself in P2. Anyway, this is a good position for the team and for me too. I was not really really happy with the balance of the car unlike in qualifying but I feel that Egor deserved it today, he was faster than us. That’s pretty much it, we have to keep going!”
Diego Menchaca (Fortec Motorsports)
“I’m very happy. Yesterday and all the weekend we struggled a bit with technical issues. We had a late engine change yesterday and it’s great for me and for the driver especially after our late struggles. It’s a reward for our hard work and a relief. It was a hard race with two really hard battles with Nissany and Isaakyan. Finally a race without issues and here we are, congratulations to Alex and Egor.”