Robert Shwartzman converted his pole position at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza into a maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship victory as the Russian led from start to finish on Saturday.
The R-ace GP racer comfortably held the lead at the start from fellow front row starter Gabriel Aubry, and despite two safety car periods and a late attack from Sacha Fenestraz, the sophomore driver held on to win a race that ended with a red flag rather than a chequered flag.
Fenestraz was a man on the move in the early laps, moving passed Will Palmer for third and former team-mate Aubry for second, but was unable to get a move done on Shwartzman, meaning the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver was forced to settle for second, with Tech 1 Racing’s Aubry completing the podium.
Despite having retained his third place at the start, Palmer could not convert that into a podium, finishing fourth, just ahead of R-ace GP team-mate Max Defourny who was embroiled in an early battle with Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Peroni, with the two fighting for position for several laps before the Belgian came out on top.
Henrique Chaves advanced two places from his grid slot to finish seventh for AVF by Adrian Vallés ahead of the leading rookie in the field Max Fewtrell of Tech 1 Racing, who came out of a great battle with Yifei Ye, while Richard Verschoor completed the top ten.
The safety car was deployed on the opening lap when Rodrigo Pflucker ran wide at exit of the first Lesmo bend, and spun into the path of Ghislain Cordeel, pitching both the AVF by Adrian Vallés and Arden drivers into the barriers and out of the race. It was particularly unfortunately for the Belgian, who had nowhere to go as Pflucker lost control.
The second safety car was required to remove the stranded car of debutant Sun Yue Yang at Curva Grande after the Chinese driver found himself riding over the back of Aleksey Korneev at the Rettifilo chicane on lap six. Those ahead of the duo had slowed heading into the turn, and unfortunately for the JD Motorsport driver, he was forced to end his afternoon due to damage.
The race ended just after the resumption when Neil Verhagen crashed out of the race on the exit of Curva Grande after a collision with Presley Martono. The MP Motorsport driver hit the barriers hard but emerged unscathed from the incident, while the Mark Burdett Motorsport driver was able to continue.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza Race 1 Result
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