Oliver Rowland took honours in the opening Formula Renault 3.5 race of the year after Meindert van Buuren, who was first on the road, was penalised for a jump start.
The Dutch driver vaulted from third on the grid into the lead at the start as a result of his misdemeanour, nudging polesitter Matthieu Vaxiviere wide at the first corner before cutting underneath front row starter Rowland to seize the advantage.
Van Buuren proceeded to build a cushion at the head of the field ahead of Rowland, but the Lotus driver was soon placed under investigation and was handed a 20-second time penalty for jumping the start.
That made Rowland the effective race leader, having fended off teammate Jazeman Jaafar in the early stages, and the Brit duly led home a one-two for the Fortec team once van Buuren’s penalty was applied.
DAMS’ Dean Stoneman completed the podium in third place, losing touch with the Fortec duo and spending much of the race with Vaxiviere on his tail. The Frenchman was unable to get close enough to the Red Bull junior to attempt a pass however, and was forced to be content with fourth.
Fifth fell to van Buuren as the next man in line, Pietro Fantin (Draco), failed to stay within 20 seconds of the lead. The Brazilian finished sixth, having passed McLaren junior Nyck de Vries (DAMS).
Nicholas Latifi (Arden) came out on top in a close battle with Tom Dillmann (Carlin) to claim eighth, while Gustav Malja (Strakka) came from the back of the grid after losing his second place grid spot due to a ride height infringement to complete the top 10.
Manor Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi struggled for pace throughout, dropping outside the top 10 early on before parking his Pons Racing-run machine with a handful of minutes left of the race. A first corner collision also accounted for Tio Ellinas (Strakka) and Sean Gelael (Carlin).
|1||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||42m06.315|
|2||Jazeman Jaafar||Fortec Motorsports||2.117|
|5||Meindert van Buuren||Lotus||16.394|
|7||Nyck de Vries||DAMS||27.330|
|8||Nicholas Latifi||Arden Motorsport||32.844|
|10||Gustav Malja||Strakka Racing||35.891|
|12||Aurelien Panis||Tech 1 Racing||1m11.935|
|13||Philo Paz Armand||Pons Racing|
|14||Roy Nissany||Tech 1 Racing|
|-||Roberto Merhi||Pons Racing|
|-||Egor Orudzhev||Arden Motorsport|
|-||Tio Ellinas||Strakka Racing|