Bruno Baptista controlled the opening race of the weekend at Paul Ricard from the front to take his maiden EuroFormula Open victory.
The RP Motorsport driver led away from pole position, and held back the advances of Alessio Rovera of BVM Racing to make sure he stood on the top step of the podium for the first time.
Baptista was largely untroubled after making a reasonable getaway at the start, getting back into the lead around the outside of the second turn after seeing Campos Racing’s Diego Mencheca make a great start from third on the grid, with the Mexican then losing second place to Tanart Sathienthirakul heading down into turn three, with Rovera falling to fourth from starting on the front row.
Before the end of the first lap, Rovera had re-passed Mencheca and taken third position, and Sathienthirakul for second, and gave chase to Baptista.
Konstantin Tereschenko was the next to pass Mencheca, with the two team-mates swapping position into the chicane halfway down the Mistral Straight. Tereschenko would then hunt down Sathienthirakul to take the final podium, with the Russian holding off Yu Kanamaru in the closing stages, with Sathienthirakul ultimately finishing fifth ahead of Team West-Tec F3 team-mate Yarin Stern.
RP Motorsport locked out the remaining points places, with Igor Walilko, Damiano Fioravanti, John Simonyan and Andres Saravia finishing seventh to tenth. Mencheca’s good start went to waste as the Mexican driver dropped down to twelfth at the chequered flag.
But no one could deny Baptista his maiden EuroFormula Open victory. Qualifying for race two will take place at 08:30am Sunday morning local time before the race begins at 13:00 local time.
Paul Ricard Race 1 Result
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