Martinius Stenshorne converted his inherited pole position into a convincing victory in a shortened opening Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine race at Imola.
Despite two safety car restarts, the R-ace GP driver was never threatened by the three Prema cars running line astern behind him, taking victory when the race was brought to an early finish by an incident at the back of the field.
Andrea Kimi Antonelli held off team-mate Rafael Camara to take second, with the third Prema car of Lorenzo Fluxa in fourth.
Camara had one brief look at making a move on Antonelli into Tamburello but otherwise the order remained stable throughout the 12-lap race.
Kas Haverkort took fifth for Van Amersfoort Racing ahead of R-ace GP’s Tim Tramnitz, who resisted a challenge from G4 Racing’s Alessandro Giusti.
There was drama before the start when second-row starter, R-P-M’s Santiago Ramos pulled into the pits at the end of the formation lap, and though he could rejoin he was unable to progress higher than 23rd by the finish.
ART Grand Prix’s Charlie Wurz almost stalled before getting going and was lucky not to be collected by any of those behind him.
With Stenshorne already pulling out in front the safety car was soon deployed with Oleksandr Partyshev beached in the gravel on the exit of Tamburello after a coming-together with Enzo Scionti.
To add to R-P-M’s disastrous race, Maceo Capietto was forced to retire with damage, while Arden’s Tom Lebbon pitted under yellow to replace a damaged front wing.
When green flag running resumed, Giusti was the man on the move. In a beautiful manoeuvre to pass Nikhil Bohra he dummied to the right on the run down to Tamburello, before switching to the inside to outbrake the Trident driver into the corner.
VAR’s Joshua Dufek was able to follow Giusti through as Bohra dropped back to ninth.
The safety car was soon out again after Trident’s Roman Bilinski pulled off the track after running through the gravel at Tamburello with 10 mins remaining.
Quick work by the marshals saw the safety car return to the pits after a single lap with Stenshorne again timing the restart to perfection.
Giusti was looking to repeat his party trick into Tamburello on Tramnitz, but as he dived back to the inside, the German driver was wise to the move and defended his position successfully.
A scrap at the lower end of the top ten between Michael Belov, Bohra and Laurens van Hoepen saw Belov emerge in front after Van Hoepen ran wide, slowing both him and Bohra.
However, another incident between Lucas Medina and Adam Fitzgerald, completing R-P-M’s nightmare afternoon, brought out a red flag.
The stewards took the decision not to restart the race with three minutes plus one lap remaining.
As a result, the final classification reverted to the positions at the end of lap 12, promoting Bohra back ahead of Belov and Van Hoepen in the final results.
Race results (12 laps)
|1||Martinius Stenshorne||R-ace GP||24m46.495s|
|2||Andrea Kimi Antonelli||Prema||+0.828s|
|5||Kas Haverkort||Van Amersfoort Racing||+2.363s|
|6||Tim Tramnitz||R-ace GP||+3.006s|
|7||Alessandro Giusti||G4 Racing||+3.481s|
|8||Joshua Dufek||Van Amersfoort Racing||+4.751s|
|10||Michael Belov||G4 Racing||+5.227s|
|11||Laurens van Hoepen||ART Grand Prix||+5.492s|
|12||Victor Bernier||MP Motorsport||+5.735s|
|13||Matias Zagazeta||R-ace GP||+6.229s|
|14||Dilano van’t Hoff||MP Motorsport||+6.562s|
|17||Sami Meguetounif||MP Motorsport||+8.076s|
|18||Marcus Amand||ART Grand Prix||+8.207s|
|19||Emmo Fittipaldi||Sainteloc Racing||+8.434s|
|20||Maya Weug||KIC Motorsport||+9.029s|
|21||Shannon Lugassy||KIC Motorsport||+9.473s|
|25||Enzo Scionti||Monolite Racing||+11.081s|
|26||Charlie Wurz||ART Grand Prix||+13.352s|
|27||Lucas Medina||Sainteloc Racing||+14.878s|
|28||Giovanni Maschio||Monolite Racing||+15.019s|
|29||Niels Koolen||Van Amersfoort Racing||+16.571s|
|Ret||Alex Partyshev||KIC Motorsport|
|Fastest lap: Stenshorne, 1m40.249s|