Marco Wittmann dominated this afternoon's 70th running of the Pau Grand Prix.
The in-form German, who took his first Formula 3 Euro Series win of the season at Zandvoort last weekend, led every lap from pole and also secured fastest lap.
His Signature team-mate Carlos Munoz had appeared a potential candidate for victory after a strong showing in practice. But the Colombian was slow away from the front row and dropped to fifth by Virage Gare on the opening lap.
It was left to championship leader Robert Merhi (Prema), who had made one of his trademark impressive getaways, to mount a challenge for the lead over the early laps. Merhi forced a small mistake from Wittmann at Turn 1 on lap two. The Furth-born driver locked-up all four wheels while defending the inside line, but quickly composed himself and pulled away to a 15-second margin of victory.
"I had fastest lap in practice, qualifying and the race, you can't do any better," said Wittmann. "I am really happy to win this race, because it's a little bit like Macau in terms of prestige.
"Locking up defending from Roberto was my first shock of the race, but I managed to come off the brakes quickly and avoid flat-spotting them."
Starting on comparatively worn rubber, Merhi came under pressure from his team-mate Daniel Juncadella over the closing laps, but hung on to claim second by 0.2s.
Spaniard Juncadella was overtaken by his team-mate around the outside of Virage Gare on lap one, but was reminded by his engineer over the radio to be careful when exerting heavy pressure on Merhi in the closing laps.
"In the beginning I was careful to look after my tyres and not to slide the car too much," said Juncadella. "After cruising for a bit, my tyres were really good, but it is not easy to overtake here. I was reminded over an incident in Zandvoort last year when I fell off the road chasing Roberto by committing real a learner's mistake. I have more experience now."
Signature team-mates Daniel Abt and the recovering Munoz came home fourth and fifth. The final Signature entrant, Laurens Vanthoor, became the race's second retirement when he crashed out spectacularly at the Foch chicane.
Pipo Derani was the highest-placed of the British series regulars in sixth. The Double R racer was made to work hard for the position by Motopark Academy's Kimiya Sato. The returning Marko Asmer (Double R) was last by some margin away from the start, but demonstrated decent race pace and overtaking nous to take seventh.
Results - 35 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW 42m01.758s
2. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc + 14.943s
3. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 15.151s
4. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 16.683s
5. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW + 28.907s
6. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 39.113s
7. Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc + 40.745s
8. Kimiya Sato Motopark Dallara-VW + 45.259s
9. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 49.932s
10. Richard Bradley Carlin Dallara-VW + 50.918s
11. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 1m08.270s
Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW 10 laps
Tom Dillmann Motopark Dallara-VW 4 laps