Honda junior Ayuma Iwasa converted pole into victory in the opening French Formula 4 race of the season at Nogaro.
The Suzuka Racing School graduate made good getaway from pole but was kept under pressure from fellow front row starter Ren Sato.
Before Sato could challenge for the lead, an early safety car brought out by an incident at turn two neutralised the field.
Sato stayed with Iwasa on the restart, but Iwasa offered no opportunities for Sato to attack. Iwasa gradually edged out a gap to the Japanese F4 champion and, despite Sato setting the fastest lap of the race, finished 1.756s ahead of his countryman.
Isack Hadjar had a lonely race in third, finishing almost four seconds behind Sato and four seconds ahead of the battle for fourth.
Marijin Kremers was the only driver to make up a position on the opening lap of the race, taking fourth from Ivan Peklin.
Peklin dropped backwards in the second half of the race and Kremers was left to defend his position against Sami Meguetounif. Meguetounif pushed hard but Kremers managed a near faultless drive to maintain the position, 0.266s ahead of the Frenchman.
Rafael Villagomez, who is juggling French and British F4 campaigns this year, took sixth after finding a way past Peklin on the final lap of the race.
Valentino Catalano took eighth ahead of Loris Cabirou and Lev Lemko, with Romain Leroux eliminated by the incident that triggered the safety car.
Race results (14 laps)
|Fastest lap: Sato, 1m26.748s|