Christopher Zanella claimed his first victory in the FIA Formula Two Championship after mastering wet conditions in the first race at Magny-Cours.
Polesitter Alex Brundle made a good start, with Zanella dropping from second place behind both Miki Monras and Ramon Pineiro.
Zanella regained third place from Pineiro a few laps later and then chased down the leading pair. He caught and passed Monras and then took the lead from Brundle soon afterwards.
“To win the race was a great feeling for me and unbelievable given I had a really bad start,” said Zanella. “I dropped down to fourth and tried to stay with the others, then I tried to close the gap, lap-by-lap, and I was trying to find the best line. Then I overtook one after the other and that was really good. It was a hard race and especially at the end when you’re alone and you start to have some thoughts and that’s very dangerous.”
Meanwhile Tobias Hegewald was also working his way forward, first past Mirko Bortolotti and then past Will Bratt. With Zanella having got himself into the lead it was Hegewald's turn to catch Monras and Brundle, taking both and finishing in second place.
“I think I had the worst start in my life, so I was somewhere in 12th or 14th,” said Hegewald. “I didn’t know so I just kept my focus because I know I’m quite good in the rain. I was trying to get some points but in the ended up in second place – I didn’t expect that so it was like a win for me.”
Brundle held on to finish third, with Monras fourth. Pineiro took the checkered flag in fifth, just ahead of Bortolotti and F2 debutant Jon Lancaster. Bratt ended the race in eighth, with Thiemo Storz and Kelvin Snoeks rounding out the top ten.
Race results after 21 laps:
1. Christopher Zanella, 40m25.650s
2. Tobias Hegewald, + 7.937s
3. Alex Brundle, + 9.382s
4. Miki Monras, + 11.707s
5. Ramon Pineiro, + 20.978s
6. Mirko Bortolotti, + 21.837s
7. Jon Lancaster, + 22.492s
8. Will Bratt, + 33.682s
9. Thiemo Storz, + 34.802s
10. Kelvin Snoeks, + 39.729s
11. Benjamin Lariche, + 41.477s
12. Armaan Ebrahim, + 1m02.112s
13. Jack Clarke, + 1m03.515s
14. Johannes Theobald, + 1m14.960s
15. Mikkel Mac, + 1m24.504s
16. Maxim Snegirev, + 1m28.439s
17. Julian Theobald, + 1m43.841s
18. James Cole, + 1m46.974s
19. Sung-Hak Mun, + 1 lap
Ret. Jose Luis Abadin, 17 laps
Ret. Natalia Kowalska, 16 laps
Ret. Plamen Kralev, 1 lap
Ret. Mihai Marinescu, 0 laps