The worst Carlos Sainz Jr becames Champion

A record breaking Formula Renault 3.5 season by Carlos Sainz Jr. netted him the title of Champion. The 20-year-old Spaniard had done all the hard work, setting a new standard with seven victories, before the final weekend in his home country at Jerez. He becomes the youngest driver to win the title and clinched it 24 years to the day after his father won his first World Rally Championship.

Fellow Red Bull Junior Pierre Gasly followed up his 2 litre title from last year with second in his debut season in the larger category. The 18-year-old Frenchman settled that in the final race with a perfectly measured drive to fourth and passed the points total of Roberto Merhi who had gone into the weekend with an outside chance of taking the title from Sainz but had an awful event and slipped to third.

A fabulous season
"For sure there are many great things to remember from this season," recalled Sainz. "It has been an absolutely incredible year. If you push me to pick out two highlights I would have to think back to the first weekend in Monza when we bounced back to win Race 2 after failing at the start in Race 1," he stated, remembering the technical issue that saw the car stuck in second gear.

"Then we bounced back from a tough weekend at the Hungaroring to score two wins at Paul Ricard. I think that a few people were starting to think we had lost the edge but the two races in France showed again what we could do and set the record number of victories for the season so that was something to remember."

Perfect timing
"Then this weekend I woke up on Saturday morning knowing that it just had to be my day. It was the 24th anniversary of my fathers first World Rally Championship and that was just a perfect match because he has been such an important part of my success, that made it very special," added the man from Madrid with his classic smile.

"I have to thank the entire team for giving me such incredible support all season, we have had some difficulties but you certainly don't win that many races on your own, it is totally a team thing and they have been fantastic," added the Dams driver.

The title is all that counts
It was in fact the worst weekend of the year by a long way for Sainz as he failed to score a point, having to try and fight his way forward from 15th and 14th on the grid.

"Well, we arrived believing that we would be competitive but it just never happened, it was all about tyre temperature and we never got the new tyres switched on. No matter what we did we didn't have grip and the class is so competitive that if you are a few tenths off you are in trouble and I have to say this weekend we were no where," admitted Sainz.

From 15th on the grid in Race 1 Sainz battled his way through to cross the line 9th but was handed a 25-second penalty after the race following a collision with Oscar Tunjo and hence was classified 15th. The title was already his though as his lone rival, Roberto Merhi, was the innocent victim of a first corner clash between William Buller and Marlon Stockinger, was forced into the gravel and his last hope for the title vanished.

"Fortunately we had done all the hard work before we got here and as soon as Roberto (Merhi) went out of Race 1 we had the championship," concluded the new champion.

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