Mirko Bortolotti won the penultimate race of the FIA Formula Two season at Barcelona, converting pole position into victory with a final margin of close to nine seconds.
The 2011 champion was matched by local driver Miki Monras in the opening stages of the race but the Austro-Italian was then able to pull away as Monras struggled with his tyres in the closing stages.
“I’m very happy with that performance,” said Bortolotti. “The start was good and I just tried to get into my rhythm. It’s very difficult to overtake here, so I knew that as long as I didn’t make a mistake I should be able to take the win. I’m happy with that and I think we had good pace throughout the weekend and obviously the new tyres helped me a lot this race, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”
Monras' fellow Catalan Ramon Pineiro had to defend third place from Tobias Hegewald during the opening few laps, but once he shrugged off the German he had a quiet run to third. The result sealed a top three placing in the standings and with it a GP2 test and an FIA Superlicence.
After losing touch with Pineiro, Hegewald was kept under pressure by Mihai Marinescu for the duration of the race, but the Romanian never got close enough to challenge for fourth position.
Jack Clarke took sixth place from Christopher Zanella at the start of the race, but didn't have the pace of those in front of him and had a train of four cars behind him for the majority of the race. Again, none of them really got close enough to challenge each other, in what was a processional race. This allowed Clarke to finish sixth ahead of Zanella, Alex Brundle, Kelvin Snoeks and Mikkel Mac. Zanella can be overhauled for the runner-up spot by Pineiro should the Spaniard win Sunday's race.
Barcelona, race one results:
1. Mirko Bortolotti, 22 Laps
2. Miki Monras, +8.771s
3. Ramon Pineiro, +19.846s
4. Tobias Hegewald, +26.201s
5. Mihai Marinescu, 26.933s
6. Jack Clarke, +39.492s
7. Christopher Zanella, +41.852s
8. Alex Brundle, +43.033s
9. Kelvin Snoeks, +43.588s
10. Mikkel Mac, +44.458s