Nick Cassidy finally took his maiden Formula 3 European Championship race win after holding off team-mate Maximilian Gunther all the way.
The New Zealander, last year’s Japanese F3 champion, got a better start than polesitter Callum Ilott that allowed him to edge to the Briton’s inside on the run to Tarzanbocht.
Ilott attempted to cling on around the outside, but his lost momentum allowed Gunther into second position.
The leading Prema Powerteam pair, who were both using new tyres all-round, extended an advantage over Ilott, who was on four used Hankooks.
But just as Gunther narrowed the gap to within half a second at quarter-distance, so Ilott began to close on Gunther so that the trio ran in relatively close formation.
At midway Ilott’s Van Amersfoort Racing car began to fall away again as his tyres faded, while Cassidy finally got his leading advantage out to over a second with six laps remaining.
“To nail the start was a pretty cool feeling,” said Cassidy, “but from Turn 1 it wasn’t an easy race.
“Maxi was very fast and could keep up for the first half of the race and then some.
“It was a case of not using up the tyres so I had enough to push at the end.
“It [the first win] feels well overdue – this one’s for the team and all who’ve stuck by me; ever since I came in at the end of last year we gelled really well.”
The second VAR machine of Anthoine Hubert gave vain chase to the top three throughout, the Norisring winner netting a comfortable fourth place.
Carlin’s Alessio Lorandi continued his strong weekend with fifth.
Lorandi initially had to keep Prema rookie Ralf Aron and Mucke Motorsport’s David Beckmann at bay in the early laps, but the Italian drew away into a lonely race.
Beckmann rarely gave Aron respite, but the Estonian hung on for sixth.
Hitech GP pair Ben Barnicoat – who had a strong first lap from 11th on the grid – and George Russell circulated in tandem throughout and the British pair gained on Aron and Beckmann in the closing stages to make it a quartet, before they dropped back again in the last couple of laps.
Force India Formula 1 tester Nikita Mazepin completed arguably his best F3 race yet to claim the final point and complete a Hitech 8-9-10 on the road, but a five-second penalty for being out of position on the grid elevated Joel Eriksson to the final point.
Championship leader Lance Stroll ran behind fellow penalised back-row starter Sergio Sette Camara – the duo 17th and 18th in the 20-car field – for just over half the race, before retiring to the paddock with a damaged diffuser from running wide just after he had dropped to 19th behind Guan Yu Zhou.
RACE TWO RESULT
|1||Nick Cassidy||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||23||35m01.732s|
|2||Maximilian Gunther||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||23||1.136s|
|3||Callum Ilott||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||23||4.800s|
|4||Anthoine Hubert||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||23||7.106s|
|6||Ralf Aron||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||23||20.982s|
|7||David Beckmann||kfzteile Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||23||21.352s|
|12||Harrison Newey||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||23||27.974s|
|13||Mikkel Jensen||kfzteile Mucke Motorsport||Dallara/Mercedes||23||29.003s|
|16||Pedro Piquet||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara/Mercedes||23||30.279s|
|17||Sergio Sette Camara||Motopark||Dallara/Volkswagen||23||30.859s|
|18||Guan Yu Zhou||Motopark||Dallara/Volkswagen||23||36.910s|
|–||Lance Stroll||Prema Powerteam||Dallara/Mercedes||15||Retirement|