Starting from row one, the Renault Sport Academy rookie took the lead at turn one to go on for the victory ahead of Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and pole winner Max Defourny. The three were covered by less than one second at the finish. Thanks to his second place, Sacha Fenestraz now leads in the general classification.
Fenestraz and Aubry on equal time in Q2
Saturday began with the second qualifying session to determine the starting grid for race 2 tomorrow. In the first group on track, Sacha Fenestraz was quicker than Max Defourny and Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport) with a lap time of 1:28.429. In the other group, Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing) clocked the exact same time to lead the way ahead of Will Palmer (R-ace GP) and Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP).
As the first to set the time, Sacha Fenestraz will start from pole position. Sunday morning, he will line-up ahead of Gabriel Aubry, Max Defourny, Will Palmer, Daniel Ticktum and Robert Shwartzman.
Fewtrell resists the pressure
The first qualifying session that was held on Friday set the starting gird for race 1. Max Defourny set off from pole ahead of Max Fewtrell, Sacha Fenestraz, Will Palmer, Daniel Ticktum and leader in the general classification, Robert Shwartzman.
When the lights went out, Max Fewtrell got the best send off and overtook Max Defourny at the exit of turn one. The Belgian driver was then being pressured by Sacha Fenestraz and Will Palmer, who was surprised by Daniel Ticktum on lap three.
Robert Shwartzman also ran alongside his team mate but they made contact, which reshuffled the order in the very busy field. Thomas Randle (AVF by Adrián Vallés) took advantage to move up to fifth place ahead of Gabriel Aubry, Robert Shwartzman and Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports), who spun a few moments later.
Late in the race, Max Defourny tried to find an opening on Max Fewtrell, who resisted to take his first win. The attempts of Max Defourny allowed Sacha Fenestraz to close ground and overtake on the last lap. In fourth place at the finish, Daniel Ticktum was penalised ten seconds after the race for his disputed involvement in an overtaking move.
Thomas Randle, Gabriel Aubry, Robert Shwartzman, Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) all moved up one place. Daniel Ticktum and Alexey Korneev (Fortec Motorsports) completed the list of point’s finishers.
Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing): “It is fantastic to take my first win, but a 25-minute race seems a lot longer when your leading than when you in the pack! Despite some difficult weekends like in Hungary and Monaco, we’ve never given up and this win is a very nice reward. I knew I had to get a good start and I managed to do so before controlling the race and defending my position when I saw (Max and Sacha) get bigger in my rear view mirrors in the final laps. It is a result that makes my new coach Jake Dennis (4th in the 2013 Formula Renault Eurocup, editor’s note) look good! His aid has been a big help to me up until now, but there is another race tomorrow!”
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “It was a long race! I am thrilled to be leading the general classification. I think this is the first time that this has happened to me in single-seaters! I was able to catch Max Defourny thanks to his attempts to pass Max Fewtrell and his small mistake at turn three. I made an attempt on the outside and it was enough! Tomorrow, I will start from pole in setting the exact same time as Gabriel Aubry. We have seen that it doesn’t guarantee anything on this track. The goal will be to get a good start and win if possible.”
Max Defourny (R-ace GP): “This result is obviously not what we were hoping for, but it is another 15 points in the general classification. It was a difficult race even though we battled with the leader for a long time. I got a good start, but Max Fewtrell got alongside of me. Even if I kept the lead at turn one, I’d have lost a lot of speed on the following straight. After that, I gave it my all. I lost time in some places, I picked time in others, but I had to settle for third place. We will be back tomorrow to fight for the win.”
|1. Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing)||210|
|2. Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP)||206|
|3. Will Palmer (R-ace GP)||188|
|4. Max Defourny (R-ace GP)||146|
|5. Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing)||138|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications.