Luca Filippi scored his first victory of the year in the first Auto GP race at Brno.
Polesitter Rio Haryanto got away well at the start, with Super Nova driver Filippi pursuing the Indonesian.
Towards the back of the field, Marco Barba tangled with Giovanni Venturini, the championship leader coming to Brno, putting both out of the race together with Francesco Dracone.
Then at Turn 3, Barba's Campos Racing teammate Bruno Mendez lost control, climbing over the back of Fabio Onidi's car and also collecting Adrien Tambay.
With just nine cars left in the race, the safety car was called into action. Many of the drivers took the opportunity to make their mandatory pitstop under the safety car, including Filippi. Haryanto waited until after the restart to make his stop, dropping to sixth. This allowed Filippi to take the lead, and the Italian went on to win by more than three seconds.
“I'm lucky that Auto GP races in Brno because I really have a special feeling with this track,” said Filippi. “I don't know what but I've always been quick around here, and today was no exception.
“When Haryanto was in front I didn't push because I knew he had to pit, while I had to push in order to build a gap on Crestani.”
Fabrizio Crestani finished second for Lazarus, with Kevin Ceccon completing the podium in third place for Ombra Racing.
“Finally I managed to throw away all the bad luck I had in the first two events,” said Crestani. “The race was good, my start was ok and I passed Ceccon. From then on it was an easy race. I was hoping to catch Luca because in the first laps I had some margin, but then it was clear that he had a quicker pace than mine, so the result is fair. Now I hope to keep momentum, because I have a big gap to fill.”
Ceccon added: “On one hand another podium is very good, but I'm not really satisfied because I was quicker than Crestani but I didn't have a real chance to get close enough to try a move.”
Jon Lancaster enjoyed a strong debut in the series in fourth place, ahead of Pasquale di Sabatino and Haryanto.
Like Haryanto, Samuele Buttarelli and Sergei Afanasiev didn't pit during the safety car and ended up back in seventh and eighth as a result. Giuseppe Cipriani was the final finisher in ninth place.
Race results after 17 laps:
|1||Luca Filippi||Supernova Racing||33:48.741|
|3||Kevin Ceccon||Ombra Racing||3.995|
|4||Jon Lancaster||Supernova Racing||4.963|
|5||Pasquale Di Sabatino||TP Formula||30.279|
|7||Samuele Buttarelli||TP Formula||36.422|
|9||Giuseppe Cipriani||Griffitz Durango||54.192|
|Ret||Marco Barba||Campos Racing||0 laps|
|Ret||Adrien Tambay||Gravity – Charouz Dams||0 laps|
|Ret||Francesco Dracone||Francesco Dracone||0 laps|
|Ret||Giovanni Venturini||Griffitz Durango||0 laps|
|Ret||Fabio Onidi||Lazarus||0 laps|
|Ret||Bruno Mendez||Campos Racing||0 laps|