At the start - pole-sitter South Africa's Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) got away well but local knowledge on the part of Alx Danielsson (Comtec) let him find a way through before they got to the Craner Curves. Thereafter nothing apart from ...
At the start - pole-sitter South Africa's Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) got away well but local knowledge on the part of Alx Danielsson (Comtec) let him find a way through before they got to the Craner Curves. Thereafter nothing apart from Danielsson's own personal demons troubled the Swede. After all the things that have happened to him this season, Alx probably expected to either get a puncture or have the car otherwise fall apart on him, but this time it didn't and he coasted to his, and Comtec's, first win in this category.
Behind him, there was a battle royal raging for second place, with Zaugg (who has replaced Sebastian Vettel at Carlin Motorsport after the German found himself promoted to F1) and Milos Pavlovic (Draco Multiracing USA) slugging it out. Pavlovic, the Yugoslav, is driving for his third team of the season and was clearly making the most of the chance to show his speed for once, even if it was at the price of not being allowed to show any signs of his normally engaging personality. Draco didn't used to be like this, so you have to wonder why they are now. Anyway, it was a phenomenal battle, with Pavlovic nosing alongside the South African youngster at every possible opportunity, and piling on the pressure, but unfortunately never quite having the speed necessary to make it stick. It at least provided the substantial crowd with something to cheer about in a race that was otherwise somewhat short on entertainment.
To the untrained eye, the fact that there was something going on further back would have been less than obvious. This was mostly because what was going on seemed to involve people throwing themselves onto the grass and gravel and then having to try and recover. Among them were series front-runners Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering) and Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) of Venezuela, both of them falling victim to early race spins, and Parente starting the race from a lot further back than you might expect. He'd been on what should have been his fastest lap in qualifying this morning when Sean McIntosh (KTR) brought the session to an abrupt halt when he flung himself into a gravel trap and caused a red flag. The Canadian-indiced early end to the session meant that the likeable Portuguese could not complete the lap at full speed, so he ended up stuck in the middle of the grid instead of at the front where you would normally expect to find him.
Parente's cause was not helped when he ended up dead last after an off on the very first lap, managing to get back on track eventually, but with his chances of scoring points now seriously damaged. The only plus point to all of this from his point of view was that Maldonado was also in trouble, though he was able to recover a lot faster and was able to finish the race in 8th place. These two - and Andy Soucek - were the three championship leaders, with one point covering them as they came to this meeting. It was now starting to look as if Soucek would be leaving here in the lead, especially as he was running 4th, despite the repeated attempts of Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) to start with, and later McIntosh, to get past. The Canadian was looking impressive but just couldn't quite claim that 4th place, and was probably wise not to try and push too hard.
Early exits came from Celso Miquez (Comtec), the Spaniard tripping up on lap 1, and James Rossiter (Pons Racing), the Englishman having a torrid time in qualifying when the car let him down. He failed to set a competitive time and started the race from the back of the grid. His stated intention was to stay out of trouble. Judging by the state of the car, he's got an odd idea of what keeping out of trouble actually entails. Both the Barba brothers, at Jenzer Motorsport, were also in trouble; Alvaro pitting for a new nose to replace the sorry looking object he finished lap 1 with, while Marco flung himself into the Redgate gravel and out of the race three laps in. The Spanish pair were not having a good day.