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Matthieu Vaxiviere on the top step of an all-French podium in Eurocup opener

by Ant Musker

Photo: Renault Sport/DPPI

Matthieu Vaxiviere converted his maiden Eurocup pole into a win with a controlling lights-to-flag drive in the season opener at Aragon.

The 2011 French F4 Champion held off early pressure from Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and William Vermont to protect his lead, staying calm before eventually pulling away from his fellow countrymen with a comfortable three-second gap to take the flag.

The front three on the grid got away well and were quickly joined by Vermont who had managed to get himself ahead of Egor Orudzhev, the Russian slipping down to sixth as Jake Dennis also passed him.

Italian Luca Ghiotto couldn?t build on his seventh place qualifying as he dropped out of the top ten quickly after a poor start, while also not having much luck was Nyck de Vries who would have been disappointed with his initial grid spot, which only got worse as he slipped down further before fighting back to re-overtake Fortec?s Ed Jones for tenth place.

De Vries then found himself caught up in the fight for eight between Oliver Rowland and Oscar Tunjo. The McLaren young driver managed to pass Rowland in the Manor car but Lotus Junior representative Tunjo held him off.

Dennis, Steijn Schothorst and Orudzhev all had particularly quiet races finishing fifth, sixth and seventh but rookie Orudzhev will be particularly pleased with his points collection despite having started in fourth.

There was no movement in the battle for the podium as Ocon came in second very closely followed by Gasly then Vermont in fourth completing the French domination.

Just outside the top ten was Manor?s Melville McKee in eleventh while Bruno Bonifacio drove a good race, climbing from twentieth on the grid to finish in twelfth. The Brazilian will be regretting the technical issues which let him down in qualifying.

But it was Vaxivere?s race, a perfect example of a lights-to-flag job. He struggled last year in the Eurocup with just one top-ten finish but his second year with the Tech 1 outfit he has started as well as he possibly could have. He will look to continue his flying start to the season in tomorrow?s race.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Matthieu Vaxiviere Tech 1 Racing 14 laps in 27:22.459
2 Esteban Ocon ART Junior Team +3.218
3 Pierre Gasly Tech 1 Racing +3.623
4 William Vermont ARTA Engineering +4.748
5 Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsport +7.263
6 Steijn Schothorst Josef Kaufmann Racing +11.427
7 Egor Orudzhev Tech 1 Racing +12.356
8 Oscar Tunjo Josef Kaufmann Racing +14.770
9 Nyck de Vries Koiranen GP +15.322
10 Oliver Rowland Manor MP Motorsport +15.608
11 Melville McKee Manor MP Motorsport +20.508
12 Bruno Bonifacio Prema Powerteam +20.876
13 Stefan Wackerbauer Interwetten.com Racing +21.241
14 Luca Ghiotto Prema Powerteam +21.726
15 Andrea Pizzitola ART Junior Team +21.936
16 Mikko Pakari Fortec Motorsports +22.736
17 Alexandre Baron ART Junior Team +23.323
18 Leo Roussel ARTA Engineering +27.192
19 Victor Franzoni Koiranen GP +28.295
20 Guilherme Silva Koiranen GP +28.620
21 Ignazio D’Agosto KTR +30.577
22 Alexander Albon KTR +31.094
23 Aurelien Panis RC Formula +31.695
24 Viktor Sendin AV Formula +36.735
25 Kevin Jorg Jenzer Motorsport +40.598
26 Javier Merlo Manor MP Motorsport +41.861
27 Konstantin Tereschenko Interwetten.com Racing +44.964
28 Simon Tirman ARTA Engineering +46.946
29 Benjamin Bailly RC Formula +50.176
30 Marcos Siebert Jenzer Motorsport +54.090
31 Nick Cassidy AV Formula +1:02.663
32 Alejandro Abogado Interwetten.com Racing +1:17.642
33 Gustav Malja Josef Kaufmann Racing +1:51.639
34 Naomi Schiff RC Formula +1 laps
35 Yu Kanamaru KTR +2 laps
Not classified
Ed Jones Fortec Motorsport +3 laps
Levin Amweg Jenzer Motorsport +4 laps