Danielsson, at last!
After performing consistently well since the start of the season, Alx Danielsson finally claimed his first win of the season here today. He shares the success with his Comtec Racing team, for which it is also their first win in the discipline. After starting from pole, Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) confirmed his fine form with a good second place, defended well under pressure from Milos Pavlovic (Draco Multiracing USA).
Several drivers were penalized as a result of incidents in qualifying: Sean McIntosh, Miguel Molina (accidents causing the session to be interrupted), as well as Pasquale di Sabatino, Gregory Franchi, Christian Montanari and Patrick Pilet (non-compliance with parc ferme rules) all had their best times disallowed. James Rossiter also had to start from the back of the grid for a technical non-conformity (quantity of fuel).
Zaugg and Danielsson lined up on the front row of the grid. When the red lights went out, the South African managed to hold off the Swede on the brakes into the opening bend. But it didn't take Alx long to gain control. At the end of lap one, Celso Miguez (Comtec Racing) and Pasquale di Sabatino (Cram Competition) were involved in a collision.
Danielsson and Zaugg were followed by Maldonado, Pavlovic, Soucek, Garcia, McIntosh, Parente, Aleshin and Fukuda. After four laps, Maldonado was putting Zaugg under more and more pressure, but the Venezuelan ended up making an error which sent him right off onto the grass and put him back into eighth place between Aleshin and Fukuda.
But Zaugg wasn't out of trouble yet: it was then down to Pavlovic to press him. And that was just what Danielsson was looking for to enable him to open a gap, which would continue to build right to the finish.
With eight laps to go to the chequered flag, one of the highlights of the race was the battle for tenth between Bruce Jouanny (RC Motorsport), Christian Montanari (Prema Power Team) and Ben Hanley (Cram Competition).
On lap seventeen of twenty one, Sean McIntosh moved up to 5th place, ahead of Borja Garcia. The Canadian then moved up to Andy Soucek. With two laps to go, Ryo Fukuda threw away a fine performance thus far by spinning out of control, letting Hanley back into the top ten.
Alx Danielsson: "We've been waiting for this moment for such a long time. This season we've often performed well but then missed out on success. I must admit I was wondering where our next stroke of bad luck was going to come from over the closing laps. But it never came."
Adrian Zaugg: "After my surprise pole position, I just remained focussed on the race. I knew that our set-ups were good from free practice. The race was physically tough, especially in the fast bends."
Milos Pavlovic: "I'm very proud to be working with the Draco team and it is extremely satisfying to earn a podium place in my first race for them. I am going to continue to attack hard tomorrow for more of the same!"