Nick Yelloly scored victory for the Comtec team (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Nick Yelloly scored victory for the Comtec team (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

Nick Yelloly took his first ever Formula Renault 3.5 win in the opening round of the 2012 season in Aragon.

The young Briton, who has qualified second in this morning's session, stole a march on polesitter Arthur Pic when the lights went out to lead into the first corner.

Yelloly led from Carlos Huertas in an incident packed start to the race, instigated by Richie Stanaway's Lotus stalling on the grid.

Chaos ensued behind the Comtec driver, with Kevin Korjus caught up in a first-lap crash which accounted for several other drivers including the fast starting Alexander Rossi and Nico Muller.

After four laps behind the safety car, Yelloly led the field from start to finish despite coming under some intense pressure from Tech One's Jules Bianchi in the closing stages.

In spite of Bianchi's late surge, the 21 year old was never seriously threatened and deservedly took Comtec's first victory since 2009 after a calm and collected drive.

He said: “I made the perfect start, something we'd worked on a lot in pre-season testing.

“The safety car allowed me to save my DRS till the end of the race, though I had to make sure I didn't make a mistake when Jules Bianchi started to come back at me. 

“It's a relief to start the season with a win. It takes a lot of pressure off and it's great for Comtec Racing, who haven't won for a long time.”

It was an impressive FR3.5 bow for Bianchi, who was caught up behind Huertas for much of the opening stages.

Once the Columbian's pace began to drop, the Ferrari junior started to close in and lunged on lap 15, only to run wide and hand the place back to the Fortec driver.

However, a lap later he made the move stick and set about eating into Yelloly's 2.9 second advantage.

This he achieved; slashing the gap to just half a second in just five laps but once up with the leader it was a very different story.

Bianchi could not get close enough to make the decisive move, particularly down the long back straight, and had to settle for second on his debut after coming to a stop just after the chequered flag.

Bianchi said: “It was all happening at the start.

“I locked a front wheel and brushed against Nick, and then I had trouble getting past Carlos Huertas.

“I managed it in the end and then went after Nick. I was pretty confident because my tyres were in good condition, but the only thing was I lost engine power at the end.

“Nick drove the perfect race, so congratulations to him.”

Huertas' pace dropped dramatically after a strong early showing and he would eventually finish fifth, behind Kevin Magnussen and his Fortec team mate Robin Frijns.

Kevin Magnussen, Carlin (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

British Formula 3 graduate Magnussen drove from 19th, onto the podium (Photo Credit: Renault Sport)

It was a stellar drive from Magnussen, who qualified 19th this morning to take a strong podium on his debut.

“You don't expect to get on the podium when you start in 19th,” said Magnussen.

“I picked up a lot of places in the first few laps because there were cars going in all directions.

“I need to work on qualifying because we won't run this well in every race.”

Frijns meanwhile had been dicing with Magnussen's Carlin team mate Will Stevens for much of the afternoon, and like Bianchi made the crucial move on the Englishman at the turn 16 hairpin.

Stevens eventually finished seventh, behind BVM Target's Nicolay Martsenko, and led a queue of cars home including Marco Sorensen (Lotus), Andre Negrao (Draco) and Sam Bird (ISR).

As for the pole man Pic, he was running fourth until an over-zealous move by Jake Rosenzweig ended his race on lap four.

So it was an ecstatic Yelloly who took the first win of the season, after a commanding performance from start to finish.

 

Results - 25 laps:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
 1.  Nick Yelloly        Comtec      46m55.350s
 2.  Jules Bianchi       Tech 1        + 1.675s
 3.  Kevin Magnussen     Carlin       + 12.543s
 4.  Robin Frijns        Fortec       + 17.855s
 5.  Carlos Huertas      Fortec       + 18.761s
 6.  Nikolay Martsenko   BVM Target   + 19.385s
 7.  Will Stevens        Carlin       + 21.827s
 8.  Marco Sorensen      Lotus        + 22.562s
 9.  Andre Negrao        Draco        + 24.569s
10.  Sam Bird            ISR          + 25.066s
11.  Zoel Amberg         Pons         + 26.054s
12.  Lucas Foresti       DAMS         + 26.867s
13.  Vittorio Ghirelli   Comtec       + 36.584s
14.  Anton Nebylitskiy   RFR          + 37.709s
15.  Lewis Williamson    Arden        + 40.272s
16.  Yann Cunha          Pons         + 40.586s
17.  Walter Grubmuller   P1             + 1 lap
18.  Daniil Move         P1            + 3 laps

Retirements:

     Mikhail Aleshin     RFR            17 laps
     Jake Rosenzweig     ISR             7 laps
     Arthur Pic          DAMS            6 laps
     Kevin Korjus        Tech 1           1 lap
     Giovanni Venturini  BVM Target      0 laps
     Alexander Rossi     Arden           0 laps
     Richie Stanaway     Lotus           0 laps
     Nico Muller         Draco           0 laps