Waldschmidt in control After leading from start to finish, Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team) took his first Eurocup win ahead of pole position man Charles Pic (SG Formula). Never out of touch with the leaders, Mika MÃƒÂ¤ki (Red Bull Epsilon)...
Waldschmidt in control
After leading from start to finish, Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team) took his first Eurocup win ahead of pole position man Charles Pic (SG Formula). Never out of touch with the leaders, Mika MÃ¤ki (Red Bull Epsilon) took the third podium spot in a race which also saw Brendon Hartley abandon.
Penalized after qualifying for having overtaken three cars while the yellow flag was out, Jules Bianchi had all his qualifying times disallowed. A few drops of rain started to fall as the cars lined up on the grid. But all drivers decided to stay on slicks nevertheless. So braking into the opening bend promised to be a delicate affair!
Henki Waldschmidt got the better of Charles Pic from the start and outbraked him to go into turn one ahead. In the main field, several cars -- including Brendon Hartley's -- were caught up in a spin but no-one was forced to abandon. At this stage, Waldschmidt and Pic were being followed by MÃ¤ki, Kechele, Marinescu, Alguersuari, Leimer, Panciatici, Oakes and Lancaster.
Roberto Merhi and Felipe Lapenna pulled out of the race at the start of lap two. Facundo Crovo added his name to the list of DNFs one lap later. Meanwhile, the six leading drivers remained closely packed together. Further back, the race order was far from decided with Oakes and Turvey getting the better of Panciatici and Lancaster.
With five laps gone, the trio of Waldschmidt / Pic / MÃ¤ki had opened up a lead of 1''5 over Kechele, Marinescu and Alguersuari. Oakes continued his comeback to take seventh place away from Leimer. While Waldschmidt marched on to victory, things were going less well for the other Prema Power Team drivers: after Martin Plowman -- one of the few drivers to have opted for wet tyres -- was forced to abandon, Andrea Caldarelli then collided with Stefano Coletti.
Within the space of two laps, Oliver Turvey had then made it up into eight after having got past Panciatici and Leimer. But Oakes and Alguersuari still remained out of his reach.
All totally committed to their battle 12th place, Marsoin, Lancaster, Niemela and Alcaraz then tried to go into a turn four abreast. Obviously there wasn't enough room for everyone with Alcaraz and Lancaster both taking an unwanted detour! Not to be discouraged, Marsoin then found himself involved in a battle with Panciatici, Hegewald and Onidi. Onidi, who had made an impressive comeback after starting from the back row, then made an error. Hegewald took advantage of the battle between the two Frenchmen to come out on top. On the penultimate lap, Marinescu then lost his fifth place to Alguersuari. The Romanian still had to put up a fight to avoid being passed by Oakes.
Henki Waldschmidt: "We were quick in qualifying, but not fast enough to be in with a shout of pole position. I got off to a very good start and attacked all-out over the opening laps to open up a lead."
Charles Pic: "This is my first season in Formula Renault 2.0 and I'm happy to have taken my first podium place of the season here. I will be starting from pole position again tomorrow and I hope to be able to take my first win as well!"
Mika MÃ¤ki: "We were quite a long way off the pace in collective testing but the team put in a lot of hard work. Things then started to go our way, allowing me to take my first ever podium finish today. I hope to be able to put in a repeat performance tomorrow."