Strakka Racing's Tio Ellinas scored a breakthrough maiden Formula Renault 3.5 victory in a breathless opening race of the weekend at Silverstone
From pole position, the Cypriot made an excellent getaway to extend a 14.5-second lead before half-distance.
The result is Ellinas' first win since the Abu Dhabi GP3 finale in 2013.
He was hit up the rear by fast-starting fourth qualifier Jazeman Jaafar into Maggotts on the opening lap, and damage to the nose of the Malaysian's Petronas-liveried car assisted Ellinas in making a break from the pack.
"It has been a couple of hard weeks as I just lost my grandfather, so this is a special victory," said Ellinas.
"It is really good for the team, as we have been quickest on Friday in several races this year, but things have been going wrong in qualifying because of traffic or other reasons.
"The competition in this series is huge, so I am not expecting to be beating Oliver Rowland and Matthieu Vaxiviere in all of the remaining races, but I am hoping we can stay in the top three."
Jaafar initially defended second position valiantly in a battle-scarred Fortec machine, but lost ground as the race unfolded and slipped to an eventual 10th.
In the closing laps, Ellinas paced himself to achieve an eight-second margin of victory over championship leader Rowland, who was engaged in a fierce scrap with title rival Vaxiviere at the beginning of the race.
"When I got ahead of Matthieu I was happy to finish there, but then I got past Tom Dillmann and Jazeman Jaafar in one move at The Loop," explained Rowland.
"It was difficult to know what to do behind Jaz, whether to attack him or defend your third position.
"Matthieu had his turn and then I had mine. It was really frantic but clean racing.
"The only contact was when I think Jaz hit Tio and then when Matthieu caught Jaz's rear wheel going onto the Wellington Straight."
Lotus racer Vaxiviere also sustained damage to his front wing after contact with Jaafar on lap seven. The Frenchman dropped to fifth place, but fought back and finally secured third place from Jaafar on lap 12.
Tom Dillmann was in the thick of the action and hunting for a podium for Carlin, but the Frenchman lost control and speared off the road at Becketts, dropping to ninth on lap 11.
As he clawed his way back through the field, Dillmann was rudely squeezed onto the grass by Ellinas' Strakka team-mate Gustav Malja on the approach to Brooklands.
Dillmann eventually secured fifth place by passing the Swede at Stowe on the penultimate lap.
Ahead of them, McLaren-backed DAMS driver Nyck de Vries finished fourth in a comparatively quiet run.
Rowland's runner-up position extends his lead in the drivers' standings to 184 points, 29 ahead of Vaxiviere.
Jaafar maintains third on 91, four points clear of Red Bull junior Dean Stoneman, who retired on the first lap after sustaining a left-rear puncture.
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