Second win for Pavlovic!
Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) notched up his second race win of the season at Estoril today, after passing Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport) midway through the race. Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Comp0x00e9tition) was the third man on the podium. Meanwhile, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) has extended his lead over Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) in the overall standings to 22 points.
Clivio Piccione got off to a good start, but Milos Pavlovic was right up with him on the first bend. The RC driver managed to maintain his lead, however. At the back of the field, Bertrand Baguette (KTR) and Carlos Iaconelli (Pons Racing) were the victims of the first bend. At the end of the first lap, Piccione led from Pavlovic, Fauzy, Van der Garde, Parente, Albuquerque, Walker, Bonanomi, Valsecchi and Jousse. Molina, who started from tenth position after winning yesterday's race, was way back in fourteenth.
Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing) was in fine form, and climbed two places on lap 3, moving past first Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and then Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi).
At the front, Piccione simply could not shake off Pavlovic. Fauzy, however, could not keep pace with the front two. Van der Garde, too, found himself lapping on his own in fourth, quite some distance ahead of Parente, Albuquerque and Walker.
Bonanomi faced stiff competition from Barba for his eighth position. The Spanish driver eventually sneaked past him on lap 7, before going after Walker! The man from Seville took advantage of the clear track in front of him to clock the fastest lap of the race.
On the eleventh of the race's 27 laps, Pavlovic began to make things increasingly difficult for Piccione. The Serbian eventually took the lead at the beginning of lap 14. Fairuz Fauzy soon made up ground on Piccione, who received a warning after zigzagging in an effort to keep his Malaysian rival at bay.
With nine laps remaining, Filipe Albuquerque made a move on Alvaro Parente. The ensuing duel between the two Portuguese drivers delighted the crowd... not to mention Walker and Barba, who sensed an opportunity in the offing! And one lap later, Parente duly made a mistake that let all three men past. Valsecchi, meanwhile, slipped back two places to eleventh, behind Jousse and Wickens.
Walker then made an error that allowed Barba to climb to sixth, less than a second adrift of Albuquerque! Parente, Bonanomi, Jousse and Wickens completed the top ten at this stage.
Resigning himself to a finish outside the points, Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) stopped off in the pits before setting out in pursuit of the two points awarded for the fastest race lap. And the RDD driver achieved his goal with ease!
Milos Pavlovic: "I'd saved a fresh set of tyres, and I knew I could win it. Qualifying has often been difficult for me this season. I'm focusing more on my race results rather than my final position in the championship."
Clivio Piccione: "Obviously, I'm a bit disappointed, but I was expecting this to be a long, hard race. I just concentrated on not making any mistakes."
Fairuz Fauzy: "I had a few opportunities to pass Clivio. But my car wasn't handling so well in the second half of the race, so I opted to play it safe."