Josef Kaufmann Racing star Robin Frijns took victory in an action packed Round 15 of the Formula BMW Europe Championship at Monza to seize the championship lead with one race to go. The Dutch driver headed in to the weekend 21 points behind chief rival Jack Harvey in the standings, but his win, coupled with a first retirement of the season for Harvey, has seen him pull a 9 point lead as they head into the final round of the season.
The action began on the formation lap, with a mechanical problem for Dustin Sofyan leaving oil dropped all over the start/finish line and towards the first corner. Harvey began on pole, but struggled to get away with oil on his grid spot, allowing his team mate George Katsinis to snatch the lead as they headed into the first chicane. Harvey slotted in to second, followed by Javier Tarancon and Carlos Sainz Jr, but further back, contact between Luciano Bacheta and Danil Kvyat saw them both retire, while Eifelland Racing's Facu Regalia was another driver forced into retirement on the opening lap.
The race's decisive moment was to take place on lap two though. As they headed into the Parabolica, Tarancon was putting Fortec Motorsport's Harvey in second under immense pressure and desperate for the place, made a late lunge as they got to the corner. With the space not there, contact was inevitable, sending Harvey spinning off the track and into the gravel, a damaged rear wheel causing instant retirement.
At the front, Katsinis held onto the lead, but lost that on lap four, dropping to fourth. Eiffeland Racing's CÃ´me Ledogar replaced him out front, closely followed by Frijns, who had worked his way up from eighth on the grid, with Tarancon recovering to third.
Frijns was soon pressuring Ledogar at the front and after following him closely for a couple of laps, he made his move on lap seven to take the lead. Ledogar fought back and retook the place soon after, but Frijns continued to pressure him hard. He made another move at the first chicane on lap 12 and this time made it stick, quickly pulling a gap out at front. As the race reached its conclusion, there was more contact between Katsinis and Michael Lewis on the final lap, forcing the former into retirement.
Frijns came home to take the win, his sixth of the season. Ledogar finished second, with Hannes van Asseldonk third, his second podium of the season. Timmy Hansen finished fourth, with Lewis recovering from his final lap contact to follow in fifth, with Sainz Jnr rounding out the top six.