Jehan Daruvala claimed his first victory of the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as he dominated the Sprint Race.
Hitech Grand Prix‘s Jüri Vips and Niko Kari from Trident joined him on the podium.
Starting from the front row, Daruvala took first off of pole-sitter Kari as Vips dropped from third to fifth behind Marcus Armstrong and Max Fewtrell.
Further back there was more drama as Ye Yifei and Artem Petrov made contact, this left Raoul Hyman and Jake Hughes with nowhere to go and the ensuing collision sent the quartet into the gravel and out of the race.
The safety car was deployed to allow the cars to be recovered, with the racing resuming five laps later.
At the restart, Kari put the pressure on Daruvala but the PREMA Racing driver was wise to it before building up a healthy lead.
More drama happened on lap nine, as Simo Laaksonen was sent spinning into a wall by Alex Peroni, the Australian had been forced off the track and as he defended his position as he rejoined cutting back across the Finn.
Laaksonen was forced to retire, with Peroni being handed a ten second stop-go penalty with the safety car coming out for its second outing of the afternoon.
Out front, Daruvala had been holding an insurmountable lead of almost seven and a half seconds to Kari which was wiped out as the pack were bunched together.
The Indian, did not seemed bothered and when the racing resumed he picked up right where he had left off.
Behind, there was plenty of jockeying for position as yesterday’s race winner Robert Shwartzman lunged past Christian Lundgaard with the Dane then having defend from his ART Grand Prix team-mate David Beckmann.
With seven laps remaining, Vips began a charge from fifth that saw him reel in Armstrong and Fewtrell to be in the podium places.
Shwartzman was following the Estonian, to take fourth.
Fewtrell, was not able to keep up with the pace and fell to seventh after Lundgaard passed him.
Vips continued to push, closing on Kari to taking second on the twenty-first lap.
In the lead though, Daruvala had been supreme with an unassailable lead to take the chequered flag ahead of Vips.
Kari rounded off the podium with Shwartzman, Armstrong, Lundgaard, Beckmann who had gotten the best of Fewtrell for seventh, with the Brit coming home in eighth.
Leaving the opening round, Shwartzman is the early Drivers’ Championship leader with 37 points. Lundgaard is second with 24, and Daruvala just one point behind for third.
Armstrong and Vips follow with 21 and 20 points respectively.
PREMA hold an early lead in the Teams’ Championship with 81 points, 32 points ahead of ART with Hitech third on 20 points.
The second round of the season will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France on 21-23 June.
2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – Sprint Race
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