Arthur Leclerc produced a stunning wet-weather performance to win the first Formula Regional European Championship race at Mugello, overcoming a 10-second penalty.
The race started behind the safety car with Leclerc in fourth place behind pole-sitting Prema team-mate Oliver Rasmussen and the KIC Motorsport duo of Juri Vips and Konsta Lappalainen.
Leclerc managed to overtake both KIC cars during the first lap of racing and spent the second one all over the rear of Rasmussen for the lead.
He then made a spectacular overtake on Rasmussen on lap three of racing, getting the switchback through Savelli and driving around the outside of the first Arrabbiata.
It emerged afterwards that that move came under a yellow flag – deployed after Andrea Cola went off into the gravel – and Leclerc was handed a 10-second penalty as result.
By that point he was already 10 seconds clear on track of Rasmussen, and he doubled that gap over the 10 minutes of racing that returned.
He acknowledged the infraction in his post-race interview, saying: “I just want to apologise because I didn’t see the yellow flag at all, that’s my bad.”
A safety car could have wrecked Leclerc’s race when Emidio Pesce spun into the gravel at the final corner, but race directors chose to cover that too with yellow flags only.
Vips finished second on his return to the championship, getting by Rasmussen around the outside of the first corner with seven minutes remaining.
Gianluca Petecof couldn’t match team-mate and championship rival Leclerc’s progress and finished fourth after starting fifth.
Van Amersfoort Racing duo Pierre-Louis Chovet and Alessandro Famularo finished fifth and sixth, with Lappalainen seventh and Patrik Pasma eighth. Jamie Chadwick was the final finisher in ninth, with Gillian Henrion failing to make the start having also missed second qualifying.
Race results (14 laps)
|1||Arthur Leclerc||Prema Powerteam||32m54.562s|
|2||Juri Vips||KIC Motorsport||+10.214s|
|3||Oliver Rasmussen||Prema Powerteam||+24.347s|
|4||Gianluca Petecof||Prema Powerteam||+24.652s|
|5||Pierre-Louis Chovet||Van Amersfoort Racing||+30.598s|
|6||Alessandro Famularo||Van Amersfoort Racing||+50.257s|
|7||Konsta Lappalainen||KIC Motorsport||+55.177s|
|8||Patrik Pasma||KIC Motorsport||+56.225s|
|9||Jamie Chadwick||Prema Powerteam||+1m25.821s|
|Ret||Emidio Pesce||DR Formula RP Motorsport||DNF|
|Ret||Andrea Cola||Monolite Racing||DNF|
|DNS||Gillian Henrion||Gillian Track Events GTE||DNS|
|Fastest lap: Vips, 2m04.250s