Sergey Afanasiev became the first driver to win three races in the 2011 Auto GP season with a dominant performance in the first race at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit.

The Russian driver made a good start from pole position and quickly opened up a gap over those behind. Behind him, Fabio Onidi made a flying start to take second after lining up fifth on the grid.

Onidi closed the gap to Afanasiev after the mandatory pitstops when Afanasiev came out behind backmarker Francesco Dracone and struggled to get past. Once he did get by he stretched his lead to four seconds before taking the checkered flag.

“Being on the highest step of the podium again is great, and I really have to say thanks to DAMS for that,” said Afanasiev. “With rain disturbing us yesterday during the Free Practice, we didn’t have much time to try different solutions, and we didn’t do any test here during the season while others did. So, giving me such a quick car they did an incredible job.

“The race wasn’t easy, the hot weather made it physically demanding and I had some tough moments, especially at the pit-stop and immediately after with Dracone slowing me down. Anyway he was fair and everthing went in the right way. I know that now I’m really close to the Series lead, but I want to wait for tomorrow before doing the maths.”

Adam Carroll had run third before the stops but a problem changing a tyre during his stop dropped him down the order, finishing in eighth. Championship leader Kevin Ceccon inherited the final podium spot, holding off both Fabrizio Crestani and Rio Haryanto.

Adrien Tambay recovered to sixth after a poor start, ahead of Samuele Buttarelli and Carroll. A botched pitstop for championship contender Luca Filippi dropped him to the back of the pack.

Race results – 22 laps:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Sergei Afanasiev Dams 32:18.625
2 Fabio Onidi Lazarus 4.385
3 Kevin Ceccon Ombra Racing 16.231
4 Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 16.532
5 Rio Haryanto Dams 17.392
6 Adrien Tambay Campos Racing 21.780
7 Samuele Buttarelli TP Formula 23.181
8 Adam Carroll Campos Racing 26.949
9 Adrian Campos Jr Campos Racing 31.300
10 Giovanni Venturini Griffitz Durango 34.094
11 Pasquale Di Sabatino TP Formula 35.047
12 Luca Filippi Supernova Racing 44.096
13 Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 49.843
14 Francesco Dracone Ombra Racing 1:02.253
15 Giuseppe Cipriani Griffitz Durango 1:03.581