McLaren protege Nyck de Vries claimed his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 victory in the category's last race on the World Series by Renault package at Jerez
The DAMS racer made a superb start from third to pass front row man Matthieu Vaxiviere for second away from the lights.
De Vries found himself in the lead before the completion of the opening lap, when poleman Oliver Rowland clipped the inside kerb at Turn 12 and speared across the gravel on the exit of the corner.
Rowland resumed in fourth, behind Egor Orudzhev and Vaxiviere, but the race was neutralised moments later following an incident for rookie Nikita Zlobin, who stranded his Pons car in the gravel at Turn 14.
Also in the wars on the opening lap were Dean Stoneman and fifth-qualifier Alfonso Celis Jr.
The Mexican appeared to make a slightly slow getaway and Red Bull junior Stoneman bumped wheels attempting to negotiate the AVF car on a congested grid, leading to both drivers' retirement.
Stoneman had entered the weekend third in the drivers' standings, and leading rookie, but following Sunday's result that position has now been secured by the Briton's DAMS team-mate de Vries.
The early laps were enlivened by Lotus F1 junior Vaxiviere's spirited attempts to pass Orudzhev, but the battle ended in minor contact at Turn 1 just after half-distance.
Vaxiviere had squeezed fully alongside Orudzhev's inside when the slight swipe occurred, and the impact was sufficient to give the Russian Arden driver a front-left puncture.
Rowland had opted to take his mandatory pitstop a lap before the incident, and used the undercut to come out fractionally ahead of Vaxiviere after the Frenchman made his own tyre change.
De Vries benefited from the Rowland and Vaxiviere fight to extend a 10.2-second lead, and appeared to be cruising to victory when the safety car was required for a second time with seven laps left.
The interruption was caused when Tech 1 Racing's Roy Nissany lost control and crashed at Turn 1 when his left rear tyre deflated, possibly after being hit by Andre Negrao.
De Vries kept his composure on the restart and pulled out a 2.5s margin of victory.
Rowland held off Vaxiviere by 0.075s in a climax reminiscent of the 1986 Spanish Grand Prix photo-finish between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell at the same venue.
Double 2015 winner Tio Ellinas was fourth for Strakka, while team-mate Gustav Malja kept a train of cars at bay in his mirrors to complete the top five.
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