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Ghiotto claims Pau Grand Prix win after Parry and Dennis tangle

by Peter Allen

Photo: Renault Sport

Luca Ghiotto became the winner 72nd edition of the Pau Grand Prix after early race leaders Matt Parry and Jake Dennis collided, and Pierre Gasly was later handed a penalty while just laps from victory.

Starting from pole after his domination of Sunday’s first race of the Formula Renault 2.0 Pau Trophy, Caterham junior Parry led the opening lap as the safety car made an early appearance when Alfonso Celis crashed into the barriers after contact with Egor Orudzhev off the start.

At the restart, Parry came under attack from Fortec team-mate Dennis heading up the hill. As the Racing Steps pulled alongside, contact was made, sending Dennis across the track. Third-placed Oliver Rowland was caught up, and the track was blocked for those behind. Pierre Gasly was able to sneak past and took the race lead as the red flags came out, even though everyone was able to get going again and return to the grid.

Gasly opened up a six-second lead over Ghiotto once the race got going again, but his dreams of victory were dashed when he was handed a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellows. He initially delayed his decision to serve the penalty, and rejoined in fifth, but was later handed a 30 second penalty for that delay and was classified down in seventh.

Ghiotto inherited the lead when Gasly peeled off and held on for the remaining three laps to claim victory, but Orudzhev was less than two seconds behind at the flag.

“I managed to stay in touch with Gasly after the start, but the tyres lost a lot of performance after seven laps,” said Ghiotto. “This is a difficult sport, both financially and in other respects, and I hope this victory will help me in the future. I also hope to return to Pau next year, in whichever category that may be.”

Dennis recovered to finish in third place, having spent the second part of the race fending off the attempts of fellow Racing Steps Foundation driver Rowland. Gasly’s penalty promoted Parry to fifth, with Ghiotto’s Prema team-mate Bruno Bonifacio finishing sixth after also having a drive-through for ignoring yellows. Tristian Papavoine was eighth for AV Formula, with?Nicolas Pironneau the final finisher in ninth. Matthieu Vaxiviere crashed out on lap seven.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Luca Ghiotto Prema Powerteam 20 laps in 44:18.805
2 Egor Orudzhev Tech 1 Racing +1.968
3 Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsports +4.236
4 Oliver Rowland Manor MP Motorsport +5.117
5 Matt Parry Fortec Motorsports +10.942
6 Bruno Bonifacio Prema Powerteam +34.979
7 Pierre Gasly Tech 1 Racing +38.483
8 Tristan Papavoine AV Formula +58.011
9 Nicolas Pironneau Formula Motorsport +2:09.615
Not classified
10 Matthieu Vaxiviere Tech 1 Racing 6 laps
11 Marc Cattaneo Formula Motorsport 5 laps
12 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports 0 laps