Roman Stanek took his, and Trident‘s first FIA Formula 3 Championship win of the season at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Sunday morning.
He had started second alongside polesitting team-mate Zane Maloney, the pair exchanging first place on the run down to Tamburello.
The early part of the race was dominated by drivers who had gambled to start on wets on a drying track; Caio Collet moved up from ninth to lead, while Sprint Race winner Franco Colapinto shot up from 12th to second in just two laps.
Like Saturday’s Sprint Race before it, the Feature Race was fraught with incident, a collision between Francesco Pizzi, Reece Ushijima and Brad Benavides bringing out the safety car on Lap 3.
Collet and Colapinto used the neutralisation of the race to box for slicks, falling into the lower midfield.
Campos Racing‘s Josep Maria Marti reacted quickest on the restart, having stayed on wets to move past Stanek and Oliver Bearman on the exit of the Tamburello chicane, and leader Maloney at Variante Alta.
Marti pitted for slicks two laps later as Maloney returned the favour and retook the lead as the track dried.
The Spanish driver was handed something of a lifeline just a lap later as Benavides (Carlin) found the barriers following a collision with Rafael Villagomez, again bringing out the safety car.
In typical F3 fashion, there was yet more drama to come, as polesitter and leader Maloney spun on a drying track at Rivazza 1 as he prepared to lead the field away from the restart.
Prema Racing‘s Bearman swept past Stanek on the main straight once the race had got going again to take the lead on Lap 11, just before the Race Director saw fit to scramble the safety car for a third time to recover Maloney’s Trident.
Arthur Leclerc was in the wars with Bearman at Tosa on Saturday, but his qualifying demons followed him to Imola meaning he started 21st.
The Monegasque driver has made a name for himself with charging drives through the field both last year and this, though, and found himself eighth on Lap 17, putting a move on Kaylen Frederick into Tamburello.
He then got past Zak O’Sullivan (Carlin) for sixth to make it an astonishing 15 positions gained against his grid position.
Meanwhile, Bearman had led since Maloney’s hopes of a maiden win spun away from him, but Roman Stanek had begun to keep him honest in the final few laps.
He used DRS to get past the Ferrari Driver Academy man on the start-finish straight, but as Bearman’s tyres faded, he began to fall back towards Gregoire Saucy and Isack Hadjar.
The impending battle came to a head at Rivazza on the final lap, Bearman tagging Saucy into a spin and taking him out, though Bearman was able to continue and, provisionally, take fourth on the road.
FIA Formula 3 Championship Feature Race Results – Imola
|1||2||Roman Stanek||CZE||Trident||24 laps|
|2||5||Jak Crawford||USA||Prema Racing||+0.654s|
|3||18||Isack Hadjar||FRA||Hitech GP||+4.247s|
|4||6||Oliver Bearman||GBR||Prema Racing||+4.728s|
|5||4||Arthur Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||+6.515s|
|6||12||Kush Maini||IND||MP Motorsport||+12.566s|
|8||17||Kaylen Frederick||USA||Hitech GP||+14.289s|
|9||20||David Vidales||SPA||Campos Racing||+14.945s|
|10||23||Ido Cohen||ISR||Jenzer Motorsport||+15.446s|
|11||7||Victor Martins||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+15.893s|
|12||25||William Alatalo||FIN||Jenzer Motorsport||+16.613s|
|13||10||Caio Collet||BRA||MP Motorsport||+18.587s|
|14||15||David Schumacher||GER||Charouz Racing System||+18.848s|
|15||11||Alexander Smolyar||FIA||MP Motorsport||+21.050s|
|16||22||Josep Maria Marti||SPA||Campos Racing||+21.969s|
|17||21||Hunter Yeany||USA||Campos Racing||+22.963s|
|18||31||Reece Ushijima||JPN||Van Amersfoort Racing||+27.704s|
|19||19||Nazim Azman||MAL||Hitech GP||+28.761s|
|20||30||Rafael Villagomez||MEX||Van Amersfoort Racing||+30.406s|
|21||24||Federico Malvestiti||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||+32.374s|
|22||29||Franco Colapinto||ARG||Van Amersfoort Racing||+1:12.566s|
|23||8||Gregoire Saucy||SUI||ART Grand Prix||+1 lap|
|24||28||Enzo Trulli||ITA||Carlin||+1 lap|
|25||14||Laszlo Toth||HUN||Charouz Racing System||+3 laps|
|29||16||Francesco Pizzi||ITA||Charouz Racing System||DNF|