Euronova Racing's Sergey Sirotkin claimed his maiden Auto GP victory in race one at Valencia.
The Lukoil-backed driver made a superior start to polesitter Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, and only relinquished his lead during the mandatory pitstop sequence. Sirotkin was the only driver to start on the harder compound Kumho tyre and appeared in control throughout.
Super Nova charge Quaife-Hobbs was handed an opportunity to close up a four and half second deficit to Sirotkin by a late race safety car. But the British racer's worn soft front tyres forced him to concede a 0.9s margin of victory over the single lap of green flag racing before the chequered flag.
Norwegian Pal Varhaug entered the meeting tied for the lead of the drivers' standings with Quaife-Hobbs. Virtuosi UK's GP2 refugee dropped to second in the points race after finishing third at Valencia this afternoon.
From 10th on the grid, Daniel de Jong took a solid fourth place. The Dutchman was involved in a tight first lap battle with MP Motorsport team-mate Chris van der Drift, and opted to become the first driver to make his mandatory pitstop on lap four.
Quaife-Hobbs' Super Nova team-mate Victor Guerin dropped positions from his third position on the starting grid. Guerin completed the first lap in fifth, behind Campos Racing's Facu Regalia and Varhaug, but the Brazilian's race would end in a spectacular oil fire five laps from home.
Lubricant on his rear tyres left Guerin helpless to avoid spinning at Turn 2. Four other drivers were caught out by the ensuing slick, and a safety car was required to remove the cars of Guerin and Matteo Beretta's damaged Zele Racing Lola.
Reigning Italian Formula 3 champion Sergio Campana claimed fifth for MLR71 ahead of van der Drift.
Results - 21 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Sergey Sirotkin Euronova 32m49.721s
2. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Super Nova + 0.969s
3. Pal Varhaug Virtuosi UK + 3.374s
4. Daniel de Jong Manor MP + 4.831s
5. Sergio Campana MLR 71 + 5.731s
6. Chris van der Drift Manor MP + 6.325s
7. Facu Regalia Campos + 7.301s
8. Maxim Snegirev Campos + 7.967s
9. Antonio Spavone Euronova + 8.300s
10. Sten Pentus Virtuosi UK + 9.077s
11. Giancarlo Serenelli Ombra + 9.965s
12. Giuseppe Cipriani Campos + 10.705s
13. Yann Cunha Ombra + 11.225s
14. Michele la Rosa MLR 71 + 1 lap
15. Peter Milavec Zele + 1 lap
Did not finish:
Victor Guerin Super Nova 16 laps
Matteo Beretta Zele 16 laps