Honda-backed GP2 ace Nobuharu Matsushita scored a commanding victory in the opening race of the MRF Challenge at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.
After beating Formula 3 frontrunner Jake Dennis to pole position by nearly four tenths of a second, Matsushita quickly opened up a five-second lead at the start of the race as Pietro Fittipaldi snatched second from Dennis.
The Japanese driver’s gap was eliminated by the appearance of a safety car to recover the car of Laura Tillett, but he pulled a 4.4-second advantage over Fittipaldi again before the finish.
Fittipaldi held off his fellow F3 racer Dennis by three tenths of a second at the finish line to take second.
Russian Nikita Troitskiy took fourth after repassing Tatiana Calderon, while Tarun Reddy?climbed from ninth to sixth early on.
Ex-GP3 driver Sebastian Balthasar beat Sean Walkinshaw to seventh, while Alice Powell won a race-long scrap with Harrison Newey over ninth.
Single-seater debutant Max Fewtrell fell to the back of the 17-car pack on the opening lap but recovered to 11th, getting ahead of Nerses Isaakyan and Dylan Young on the final lap as the latter was eliminated.
|1||Nobuharu Matsushita||10 laps|
|15||Dylan Young||+9 laps|
|16||Karthhik Tarani||+3 laps|
|17||Laura Tillet||+2 laps|