Jerez FV8 3.5: SMP Racing's Matevos Isaakyan claims first victory

Rookie Matevos Isaakyan claimed a breakthrough first Formula V8 3.5 victory at Jerez, heading a Russian one-two after a close fight with compatriot Egor Orudzhev in the final laps

Jerez FV8 3.5: SMP Racing's Matevos Isaakyan claims first victory

From the outside of the front row, Isaakyan benefitted from a shocking getaway by polesitter Jack Aitken to fleetingly hold the lead at the start of the race.

But the SMP Racing driver was passed into Turn 1 by fast-starting team-mate Matthieu Vaxiviere, and in opening two-thirds of the race appeared content to follow the two-time 2016 race winner.

Isaakyan was presented with an opportunity to grab back top spot when Vaxiviere ran off track on the first lap after a restart seven laps from home and, after negotiating Vaxiviere, held the lead until the finish to wrap up his first win in the series.

Arden racer Orudzhev also demoted Vaxiviere, and upped his attack over the final laps to come within half a second of denying Isaakyan at the chequered flag.

"Matthieu had a really incredible start," said a delighted Isaakyan.

"Perhaps before the safety car I was a little bit quicker than Matthieu, but unfortunately for him he made a small mistake after the safety car went in.

"Once I was in the lead, I tried to hang onto it - and here I am."

Orudzhev produced a strong drive to work his way from fifth on the grid to runner-up position, while Vaxiviere came home third - though was visibly gutted to have made a mistake when in the lead, attributing his off-track moment to cold rear brakes.

The safety car period was required to retrieve the stranded AVF machine of long-time championship leader Tom Dillmann, who retired after a controversial clash with chief title rival Louis Deletraz.

Fortec driver Deletraz had momentarily overtaken Dillmann for fourth at Turn 6, Curva Dry Sac, before immediately running wide on the exit and losing the position.

Three turns later, at Curva Angel Nieto, Deletraz staged another attempt.

Dillmann appeared to make a late turn-in, but it is questionable whether Deletraz was fully alongside before the two cars hit each other.

Deletraz survived the incident, and when Vaxiviere had his grass cutting moment, made a fine opportunistic move around the outside at the last corner to briefly hold third before ceding the spot once more.

His eventual fourth spot moves the Renault Academy driver into a provisional one-point championship lead over Dillmann, but both men are under investigation.

UPDATE: Deletraz handed 10-second penalty for Dillmann clash

After suffering a back injury in a hefty start crash during the previous meeting at Monza, Aurelien Panis took a fine fifth for Arden, ahead of Lotus racer Rene Binder.

An unfortunate Aitken appeared to suffer a serious problem away from the lights and immediately dropped to the back of the back.

The RP Motorsport driver, who was competing under appeal after officials identified a possible bodywork irregularity post qualifying, showed strong pace on his way to 11th.

RESULT - 27 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing 43m04.008s -
2 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 43m04.521s 0.513s
3 Matthieu Vaxiviere SMP Racing 43m09.108s 5.100s
4 Aurelien Panis Arden Motorsport 43m12.260s 8.252s
5 Rene Binder Lotus 43m13.175s 9.167s
6 Yu Kanamaru Teo Martin Motorsport 43m15.478s 11.470s
7 Beitske Visser Teo Martin Motorsport 43m15.524s 11.516s
8 Roy Nissany Lotus 43m16.175s 12.167s
9 Pietro Fittipaldi Fortec Motorsports 43m17.835s 13.827s
10 Vitor Baptista RP Motorsport 43m19.752s 15.744s
11 Louis Deletraz Fortec Motorsports 43m21.056s 17.048s
- Jack Aitken RP Motorsport 43m18.712s Disqualified
- Tom Dillmann AVF 25m00.533s Retirement
- Giuseppe Cipriani Durango Racing Team 22m34.055s Retirement
- Alfonso Celis AVF 14m17.033s Retirement
- Tom Randle Comtec Racing 1m46.229s Retirement


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Jerez FV8 3.5: Renault junior Jack Aitken grabs pole on debut

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