Alx Danielsson erased the memories of a torrid season at Donington Park, taking two dominant wins in front of a bumper crowd.
The Swede's speed has never been in doubt but misfortune had followed his every move, to the extent of threatening his continuation in the series.
"It's been an enormous effort just to be here, a lot of will from everyone; investors, sponsors and the team. I've got a broken rib from (two accidents) at Spa, I've hardly been to the gym in two months, just working at getting here. Now we've turned the tables."
Teenage South African Adrian Zaugg finished second in both races, in only his second WSR event. Zaugg had to break the pain barrier to last the distance, suffering with the step-up from Formula Renault and the recurrance of an old swimming injury.
Milos Pavlovic added to the fresh look of the first race podium with his first silverware of the year. Pavlovic had switched to Draco (his third team this year) for the meeting to bolster teammate Pastor Maldonado's title bid. However, this weekend the championship contenders had to be content to let Danielsson take a well deserved turn in the limelight.
Zaugg was slightly surprised with himself to be on pole for Saturday's sprint race, with Danielsson alongside on the front row. "I was nervous to be close with a Red bull again," said Danielsson wryly, "that car has cost me so much money" (referring to his crash with the previous incumbent Sebastian Vettel at Spa).
In the race Zaugg led Danielsson on the inside into the first corner, but a little mistake on the exit gave Danielsson all he needed to squeeze through into a lead he was never to lose, putting the hammer down to pull out a 9.8 seconds margin at the flag.
Zaugg's second place came under sustained pressure from the Draco pairing of Maldonado and Pavlovic. Maldonado swarmed all over the back of the Carlin car but eventually spun out on dust, after ambitiously trying to go around the outside of Zaugg under Starkey's Bridge on lap five. Pavlovic took up the mantle as 19 year-old Zaugg tired in the closing stages, but eventually settled for third.
Maldonado recovered to eighth, finishing on the gearbox of Michael Aleshin. Fastest lap for Maldonado indicated what might have been, and offered some small consolation for the Venezuelan. "My car was bottoming a little, and after my spin I didn't want to chance a move on Aleshin."
Andy Soucek brought his Interwetten.com car home fourth, to move into the lead of the championship, as previous joint leader Alvaro Parente spun out of the points on lap five.
In a feisty drive, Sean McIntosh closed in on Soucek after disposing of Borja Garcia at Redgate on lap sixteen. "I knew from racing in FRenault 2.0 in the UK that you can pass there," said McIntosh. "I closed in on Soucek but I just didn't have enough on him to get by."
The British drivers had a disappointing day, unable to benefit from a home advantage. Ben Hanley was the highest finisher in tenth.
Robbie Kerr made his was up from 23rd on the grid to 12th for KTR, while Steven Kane also made strong progress finishing 15th from 21st. After starting from the back for a qualifying infringement (running out of fuel), James Rossiter's race came to an abrupt end on the first lap, caught up in an incident between Celso Miguez and Pasquale Di Sabatino at the Esses.
Danielsson started from pole in Sunday's pit-stop race with a huge six-tenth margin in the morning's foggy qualifying session. Maldonado joined him on the front row having had the worst of the fog in his qualifying group.
Sean McIntosh had provisionally been set to line up third, but it was his turn for a refuelling infringement and he was duly sent to the back.
From the green Danielsson moved into the lead. Maldonado made a sluggish getaway, and in trying to save his position squeezed Garcia onto the grass on the run into Redgate. "Pastor's was on the limit (of what's acceptable), because we touched a little bit," said Garcia.
With no option other than to lift off the throttle, an opportunistic Pavlovic demoted Garcia to fourth.
Further around the first lap Bruce Jouanny ran onto the on grass at Old Hall but continued, as Nurburgring winner Christian Montanari became a permanent victim of the tyres at McLeans.
Danielsson pulled away at the front with Maldonado and Pavlovic in pursuit. Garcia was a wary fourth. In fifth place Ryo Fukuda was having a competitive showing for Tech 1 ahead of Adrian Zaugg.
The pit window was between laps five and 18, and Maldonado was the first to make a move on lap six. Unfortunately the stop was a lethargic 14.1 seconds, and Pastor returned to the fold down in sixteenth. Fukuda and Parente were next in, as the Draco crew redeemed themselves with a drama free change for Pavlovic on lap seven.
Danielsson thus found himself with a 5.9 second lead over Garcia, with Zaugg a further two seconds adrift in third. Danielsson made his stop on lap ten, which took a lightning 5.7 seconds, and rejoined in seventh.
Garcia was left in front for another five laps before pitting, but lost out to Zaugg when he rejoined.
On lap sixteen Parente closed in on Pavlovic for sixth place, but his passing attempt ended in contact and retirement at Redgate, as well as a bruised thumb.
"I was half a car alongside, but with the inside line," said Parente. "I never expected him to turn in on me in those circumstances." Pavlovic also went through the gravel, and was delayed but able to continue.
With the pit window closed, the order was Danielsson leading from Zaugg by 7.3 seconds with Garcia another four seconds back in third, followed by the duelling Fukuda and Soucek. Two seconds covered Fukuda in fourth, Soucek fifth, Maldonado sixth, and Hanley in seventh.
With four laps to go Maldonado went straight on at Coppice and into the tyres. "I got onto the gravel a little bit before the corner and just lost it," said Maldonado.
The incident played into the hands of Soucek, who with the demise of Parente could afford to ease off from Fukuda and settled for the points that extend his championship lead.