Ukyo Sasahara claimed his first Formula Renault victory in the FR2.0 NEC season opener at Monza.
An extra formation lap delayed the start of the race, triggered by polesitter Louis Deletraz, who had issues with his clutch and waved for an aborted start.
The Swiss racer got going but, as the catalyst of the second formation lap, he was apparently supposed to head to the back of the grid yet he retook the pole position.
He led off the line, but received a drive-through early on and finished 14th.
Starting from second, Sasahara had to give up the spot to Kevin Jorg, staying close behind the Swiss racer.
The fight between the duo then turned into the battle for victory when Deletraz got the penalty and, as such, Sasahara ramped up his efforts.
On the penultimate lap, the Japanese racer attempted a brave move on Jorg in the first Lesmo corner, which ended with the two of them making contact.
The Japanese racer was into the lead, while Jorg suffered a puncture, which led to him tumbling down to 23rd as he crawled around the track on the final lap.
As a result, Manor’s last minute-signing Ignazio D’Agosto inherited second. The Italian held off several charges from Max Defourny, who took third as the best rookie of the race.
Darius Oskoui made it two ART Junior Team cars in the top four, while former ART man Callan O’Keeffe completed a great recovery in fifth, having started 14th.
Dries Vanthoor was fighting with Defourny and Oskoui for the bigger part of the race but eventually had to make do with a debut result of sixth.
Dennis Olsen improved nine positions to take seventh, finishing just ahead of the second-best karting graduate, Indian Jehan Daruvala. MGR’s Colin Noble and Josef Kaufmann Racing’s Nikita Mazepin completed the top ten.
|1||Ukyo Sasahara||ART Junior Team||12 laps in 22:10.576|
|2||Ignazio D’Agosto||Manor MP Motorsport||+5.081|
|3||Max Defourny||Strakka Racing||+5.544|
|4||Darius Oskoui||ART Junior Team||+7.136|
|5||Callan O’Keeffe||Fortec Motorsports||+7.897|
|6||Dries Vanthoor||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+8.201|
|7||Dennis Olsen||Manor MP Motorsport||+8.790|
|8||Jehan Daruvala||Fortec Motorsports||+8.964|
|9||Colin Noble||MGR Motorsport||+14.333|
|10||Nikita Mazepin||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+15.789|
|11||Zac Claman DeMelo||Fortec Motorsports||+16.532|
|12||Lasse Sorensen||Manor MP Motorsport||+17.785|
|13||Valentin Hasse-Clot||Strakka Racing||+18.454|
|14||Louis Deletraz||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+19.397|
|16||Alex Gill||Fortec Motorsports||+19.880|
|17||Charlie Eastwood||Strakka Racing||+21.304|
|18||Rahul Raj Mayer||Mark Burdett Motorsport||+23.944|
|20||Bartlomiej Mirecki||BM Racing||+40.917|
|22||David Richert||Inter Europol Competition||+43.088|
|23||Kevin Jorg||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+45.212|
|25||Ferdinand Habsburg||Fortec Motorsports||+1:24.461|
|26||Luke Chudleigh||Fortec Motorsports||+1:31.278|
|Oliver Soderstrom||Fragus BR Motorsport||+1 lap|
|Henrique Chaves||AVF||+9 laps|
|Pontus Fredericsson||Prizma Motorsport||+10 laps|