15-year-old Matheo Tuscher claimed a record-breaking maiden Formula Two win with a controlled drive from pole position in the first race at Paul Ricard.
The French-Swiss driver got a good advantage off the line as he made a great start, while Markus Pommer and Daniel McKenzie got bad launches from second and third.
Points leader Luciano Bacheta benefited to nip into second place ahead of Pommer, while Dino Zamparelli took fourth ahead of McKenzie.
The safety car came out on the first lap after Plamen Kralev spun and left Alex Fontana with nowhere to go.
At the restart, Bacheta took a look down the inside of Tuscher at turn one but was unable to make a move. Tuscher then opened up a slight lead, and although this did not really grow over the remaining distance, he never again looked challenged.
“It was an amazing race,” declared Tuscher afterwards. “I just kept saying to myself ‘look after the tyres’! Luciano was close to me and sometimes he would get closer and then other times I would make a small gap. I was a bit stressed when I saw him in second position as I know he can push at the end of races but it looked like he pushed a bit too much at the end!
“My start was really good, one of my best in Formula Two. I went to the left to protect my lead for the first corner and that was that. I’m pleased to move into second place in the championship and I know I’m going to have to work at it to keep myself there.”
Bacheta tried to close in at the end but overdid it and went straight ahead at the chicane, but managed to hold on to second as he rejoined.
“That race felt good,” said the Romford-born driver. “I got a good start as it’s something I’ve been working on since Brands Hatch and managed to make up two places. The race was quite stressful in the beginning and the middle, but towards the end I think I had the position covered.
“I had some boost left so I was getting ready to mount a challenge on the last two laps. Tuscher and I had similar pace so I was pushing every braking zone to try and catch him but I pushed a bit too hard going into the chicane and I went straight on. I didn’t have much grip towards the end of the race.”
Having been on the pace all weekend up to now, McKenzie mounted a fightback from his poor start. He retook fourth from Zamparelli after the safety car and later took third from Pommer. Going backwards, Pommer then fell behind Zamparelli.
McKenzie and Zamparelli caught their compatriot Bacheta and finished close behind in third and fourth.
“It was a horrendous start for me off the line and I got too much wheel spin,” said McKenzie. “Earlier, I did a practice start where I got bogged down so I made sure I gave it loads to make sure I got away but it was too much. During the race, I just held my nerve to move back up to fifth and move on from there.
“I was pushing like crazy to get back at the front and had similar pace to the leaders but they had less to worry about. I’m disappointed not to have kept my position off the line because I really think I would have challenged for the win.”
Pommer was fifth, ahead of Kevin Mirocha and a lonely Mihai Marinescu. Christopher Zanella had earlier made a move on rival Marinescu, but took too much speed and cut the chicane. He failed to give the place back and was handed a drive-through. He recovered to eighth, 11 seconds behind Marinescu. Hector Hurst was ninth, with Axcil Jefferies completing the top ten.