Race one will be remembered by the Racing Engineering team as the most emotionally stressful race of the season: everything that could go wrong did, with Adam Carroll luridly spinning out of the race at the dramatic Ascari complex while teammate Javier Villa created order out of the chaos of his start by finishing ninth in the gripping final laps of the race.
As the field moved off on their warm up lap Javi stalled the car, motioning to the marshals nearby to push him into the pitlane so he could start from there. Unfortunately they pushed him down the front straight until he could get restarted, which is not allowed under the regulations, and he was brought in for a drive through penalty soon after the race started.
Further up the grid Adam had a great start to allow him to fight with championship leader for third position in the race. It all went wrong for Adam after his first pitstop, however, when what seems to have been a defective wheel nut came loose and pitched him into a series of lurid spins. Thankfully he didn't hit the barriers, or another car, but he was out of the race on the spot. His unplanned stop prompted a safety car period which allowed Javi to dive in for his official stop, and with the car very much to his liking he was able to fight his way up the field to finish in an amazing ninth position, just 13.6 seconds behind eventual race winner Giorgio Pantano.
After regaining his breath in the paddock, team principal Alfonso de Orleans Borbon noted: "It's been a fairly monumental race for us, with Javi stalling on the grid and then having the drive through, but even with the drive through he was able to finish ninth, which we calculated meant he would have finished fifth or sixth, which would have been an amazing result. As for Adam we are trying to find out what happened, but it looks like there was a defect with the wheel nut, but to confirm that we have gone out to try and find it. It was really upsetting, and I'm sure Adam is the most upset of us because he would have definitely finished fourth. Tomorrow Javi starts ninth, with all the fast guys right in front of him, but it's just a shame Adam won't be up there too."
A delighted Javier Villa beamed afterwards, stating: "It was a difficult race, starting 23rd and then before the start I stopped and got pushed by the marshals, and I got a drive through for the push! From there I finished ninth, and I think we were really fast, but if we just fix the brakes a little we will be even faster. It's good for my experience to start ninth tomorrow, and I think it is possible to have a really good race: points are maybe possible, but looking at the race today no one knows what can happen!"
A naturally disappointed Adam Carroll said: "The race was going quite well until the wheel fell off! I got a good start and was battling hard with Lewis; I passed him but he passed me back again; and then it just settled down and things were going well and I was pushing hard. I think we called the pitstop at the perfect time, but after we came out I could feel that there was something not quite right: I tried to get back around but obviously the tyre came off coming out of Ascari, and I was very lucky because I just span four or five times and stopped on the grass, and there's usually not much grass here before you hit something hard! It was very disappointing because we were running a good, strong race, and all the guys I needed to beat for fifth did finish, so we kind of threw it away today."