Sacha Fenestraz secured the Formula Renault Eurocup title with a second place finish behind Robert Shwartzman in the second race at Barcelona, after an opening lap collision eliminated more than 10 drivers.
Poleman Shwartzman?and Fenestraz made it through Turns 1 and 2 cleanly but, behind them, contact between fourth-placed Gabriel Aubry and Max Defourney at Turn 2 put Defourney into a spin and started a concertina of crashes.
Defourney rolled backwards into the oncoming traffic once coming off the brakes, being collected first by Zane Goddard, who was almost immediately rear-ended by Charles Milesi.
Several other drivers either drove into, or over the rear of the trio, with Frank Bird flying the furthest after launching over the back of Luis Leeds, who had slowed in avoidance of the crash ahead.
In total 11 cars were eliminated on the spot, with Aubry being punted off further around the lap and Thomas Randle retiring in the pits.
The race was red flagged, and when it restarted over 20 minutes later the drivers completed the first lap behind the safety car.
Fenestraz challenged Shwartzman for the lead when the track turned green, but the leader had far stronger race pace and? pulled away from the points leader. He had built up a small gap up front when another safety car period ? this time to recover Neil Verhagen and Raul Guzman after a collision ? bunched up the field again.
Shwartzman’s restart when the safety car pulled into the pits immediately put him out of reach of Fenestraz, and he was unchallenged for the remainder of the race, finishing 2.5s ahead of the newly crowned champion.
Richard Verschoor, who was promoted to third after the opening lap collision, kept the pressure on Fenestraz until the chequered flag and won the rookie classification. Max Fewtrell and Jarno Opmeer finished fourth and fifth, with Fewtrell now one point away from winning the rookie title.
Will Palmer, who needed to win and for Fenestraz to finish ninth or lower to keep the championship going to the final race of the season, could only finish sixth. A difficult qualifying put him eighth on the grid, and despite managing to find a way past Aleksandr Vartanyan in the early stages of the race, he could not make it past Opmeer before the chequered flag.
Dan Ticktum finished seventh after passing Vartanyan in the closing laps. The Russian ended the race in eighth, ahead of wildcard driver Logan Sargeant and Yifei Ye.
Race results (14 laps)
1 Robert Shwartzman?R-ace GP 50m31.068s
2 Sacha Fenestraz Josef Kaufmann +5.343s
3 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport +5.942s
4 Max Fewtrell Tech 1 +6.781s
5 Jarno Opmeer MP Motorsport +7.314s
6 Will Palmer R-ace GP +8.400s
7 Dan Ticktum Arden +8.842s
8 Aleksandr Vartanyan JD Motorsport +9.938s
9 Logan Sargeant R-ace GP +10.330s
10 Yifei Ye Josef Kaufmann +12.087s
11 Alex Peroni Fortec +12.616s
12 Henrique Chaves AVF?+14.903s
13 Xavier Lloveras AVF?+15.948s
14 Axel Matus AVF?+17.149s
15 Presley Martono Mark Burdett +17.864s
16 Aleksey Korneev Fortec +18.769s
17 Ghislain Cordeel?Arden +18.858s
Ret Raul Guzman R-ace GP
Ret Neil Verhagen MP Motorsport
Ret Thomas Randle AVF
Ret Gabriel Aubry Tech 1
Ret Frank Bird Fortec
Ret Max Defourney R-ace GP
Ret Zane Goddard Arden
Ret Luis Leeds Josef Kaufmann
Ret Thomas Maxwell Tech 1
Ret Charles Milesi R-ace GP
Ret Thomas Neubauer Tech 1
Ret Julia Pankiewicz Mark Burdett
Ret Najiy Razak Fortec
Ret Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer JD Motorsport
Ret Sun Yue Yang JD Motorsport
Pole: Shwartzman, 1m42.524s
Fastest Lap: Shwartzman, 1m43.559s
1 Fenestraz 342.5? ?2 Palmer 286? ?3 Shwartzman?267? ?4 Defourney 240? ?5 Aubry 224? ?6 Fewtrell 158? ?7 Ticktum 134? ?8 Ye 104.5? ?9 Verschoor 79? ?10 Peroni 67