Ralf Aron withstood pressure from Prema Theodore Racing team-mate Guan Yu Zhou to claim victory in the opening race of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship weekend at Zandvoort, with the Estonian clinching his second win of the 2018 campaign.
Zhou had started on pole position but found himself immediately under pressure heading into the first turn, and was not able to deny Aron the lead, with the Estonian getting inside the Chinese driver and taking the advantage.
Despite pressure, Aron did not put a foot wrong, and ultimately clinched the victory at the end of twenty-three hard-fought laps by 1.687s seconds from Zhou, while Mick Schumacher and Marcus Armstrong made it a Prema 1-2-3-4, the German holding off the New Zealander for the final podium spot despite running almost nose-to-tail across the final laps.
Daniel Ticktum finished where he started for Motopark in fifth, with the top five being covered by 5.145 seconds at the chequered flag, with the Red Bull Junior withstanding early pressure from team-mate Jüri Vips, only for the second Estonian in the field to drop back in the closing laps.
Vips was easily able to hold on for sixth, with another Motopark driver, Jonathan Aberdein, finishing seventh despite the race-long attention from Robert Shwartzman, with the fifth Prema Theodore Racing driver unable to find a way passed the South African before the chequered flag fell.
Completing the top ten was the Hitech Bulldog GP duo of Ben Hingeley and Alex Palou, with the Spaniard once again dropping positions on the opening lap having started in eighth.
Missing out on the points in eleventh was Nikita Troitskiy in the leading of the Carlin drivers, with team-mate Jehan Daruvala finishing twelfth ahead of Fabio Scherer, Ferdinand Habsburg and Artem Petrov.
All twenty-four drivers who started finished the race without too many dramas, with Sophia Flörsch ending her debut race with Van Amersfoort Racing in twenty-third, maintaining her position ahead of Petru Florescu with relative ease.
Zandvoort Race 1 Result
|1||7||Ralf Aron||EST||Prema Theodore Racing||23 Laps|
|2||1||Guan Yu Zhou||CHN||Prema Theodore Racing||+1.687|
|3||4||Mick Schumacher||GER||Prema Theodore Racing||+3.454|
|4||8||Marcus Armstrong||NZL||Prema Theodore Racing||+4.357|
|8||10||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||Prema Theodore Racing||+11.049|
|9||77||Ben Hingeley||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||+11.770|
|10||39||Alex Palou||ESP||Hitech Grand Prix||+12.316|
|15||12||Artem Petrov||RUS||Van Amersfoort Racing||+16.039|
|16||65||Enaam Ahmed||GBR||Hitech Grand Prix||+16.796|
|20||15||Keyvan Andres||GER||Van Amersfoort Racing||+25.454|
|23||25||Sophia Florsch||GER||Van Amersfoort Racing||+41.491|
|24||5||Petru Florescu||ROM||Fortec Motorsports||+49.456|