Briton Jack Harvey took a dominant lights-to-flag in the first Formula BMW Europe weekend at Valencia, extending his points lead to 16 points.
Driving for British team Fortec Motorsport Harvey took advantage of battling behind him to bank a two second lead after only two laps. DAMS' Fahmi Ilyas, in second, had to fend off an early challenge from Robin Frijns, who had already moved up a place from his grid slot. While both were forced to lose time to Harvey, Frijns was the ultimate victim an ill-timed move on the Malaysian ahead seeing him drop from third to fifth.
Freed of the challenge, and now with only his teammate as his nearest challenger Ilyas was able to make considerable ground on Harvey, cutting his two second lap two lead to just six-tenths by the end of lap six, but never able to make an impression for the race lead, falling back by the end of the race to cross the finish line two seconds behind the winner.
“[Frijns] was quite fast and attacking me. I defended but the third time when he tried to overtake going into the corner he made a mistake,” surmised Ilyas. “I then had a clear track behind me and was catching Jack, but then I had a problem with the car and dropped back. With two laps to go I was two seconds behind and it was too much to make up, but I am very happy with second place.”
“It is a great result for me and the team, the third win of the season out of five poles,” Harvey said. “It was a really tough race, actually the toughest race of the year so far. I had quite a good start and got two seconds in front and then Fahmi brought the gap down to point six, but then my car gradually got better and better and I managed to extend the lead again. I would like to see more of the same tomorrow, but let's see.“
Javier Tarancon in the second DAMS car completed the podium, ahead of a recovering Frijns (who claimed fastest lap) and George Katsinis in the second Fortec entry.
Behind there were dramas for the Eurointernational and Jozef Kaufman Racing squads.
Petri Suvanto, driving for the latter made an over-ambitious move on the second lap while in tenth, lunging, looking to take ninth from his teammate Hannes Van Asseldonk, or even eighth Timmy Hansen. In the end all he got was an early retirement (taking innocent bystander Hansen with him) an a ten place grid penalty for the second race of the weekend.
Also on the losing side of a stewards decision was Eurointernational's Carlos Sainz Jr., who despite taking the honour of best rookie in the race was also handed a ten place slap-on-the wrist for a coming together with Frenchman CÃ´me Ledogar.