Full house for Epsilon Euskadi!
The Epsilon Euskadi team pulled off the first ever one-two in the World Series by Renault. Starting from pole position, local driver Felix Porteiro never let his team mate Robert Kubica seriously trouble him. The final place on the podium went to Australian Will Power (Carlin Motorsport).
Eric Salignon (Cram) stalled at the beginning of the formation lap and as a result had to start the race from the back of the grid. Felix Porteiro and Robert Kubica had no difficulty therefore in taking the lead. Colin Fleming (Jenzer) lost several places as a result of a skirmish with the gravel pit, whereas the race came to a premature end for Medhi Bennani (Avelon), who got stuck in the gravel.
Neck and neck, the two Epsilon Euskadi Formula Renault 3.5 cars quickly moved several lengths ahead of Will Power (Carlin), Adrian Valles (Pons), Simon Pagenaud (Saulnier), Andreas Zuber (Carlin), Markus Winkelhock (Draco), Tristan Gommendy (KTR), Patrick Pilet (Jenzer) and Jaap Van Lagen (KTR). The top 10 broke away from a second group led by Alx Danielsson (DAMS). Van Lagen put his car in an impressive 360 spin on the second lap, but he regained control and was able to continue the race.
After three laps, the first five had built up a clear lead over the chasing pack. Fleming had made a fine comeback, as he had already moved up to 10th position. Markus Winkelhock made a costly mistake that lost him five places, whilst Andreas Zuber was forced to bring his car back to the Pit lane and out of the race, victim of a mechanical failure.
Felix Porteiro established a one second lead over his team mate Robert Kubica. The Polish driver continued to be under threat from Power, Valles and Pagenaud. Gommendy, Pilet, Danielson, Fleming and Toccacelo made up the provisional top 10.
The fight for places was still as fierce as ever in the main field: Montanari (Draco), winner at Monaco, moved past La Rosa (Interwetten.com) to take 12th place, whilst Van Lagen got the better of Pavlovic (GD Racing). Raffaele Giammaria (DAMS) continued to make progress on his World Series learning curve, but the Italian's race came to a premature end on lap 8 in the gravel pit. Indian driver Karun Chandhok (RC Motorsport) put in a fine performance, managing to overtake Celso Miguez (Pons) and then Ryo Fukuda (Saulnier)!
Tristan Gommendy made an error that allowed his fellow countryman, Patrick Pilet, to move past him into 6th place. On lap 14 of 19, the race lost another two drivers: Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering) and Giorgio Mondini (Eurointernational).
These two retirements were the last incidents in a race won by the Epsilon Euskadi team!
Felix Porteiro: "It's very special to get my first race win of the season at home. The most important thing here was to get the pole for the sprint race. When I saw that Salignon had stalled, I thought that that would make things easier. After that, it was a good race, even though I had a lot of oversteer at the end."
Robert Kubica: "This is a good result for the championship and an excellent result for the team. The car was understeering a lot of the time and that affected the performance. We need to confirm our good form in the second race -- race tactics will be extremely important."
Will Power: "The car was quick enough for me to get pole, but I made one or two mistakes. It was a good race, it's nice to finish on the podium after a disastrous weekend at Zolder and my poor result in qualifying at Monaco. I can aim for 5th place in the second race."