Mitch Evans dominated the first GP3 Series race of the weekend at the Valencia Street Circuit in Spain on Saturday.
Evans led from start to finish from pole position in his MW Arden entry, a perfect performance that wrests the points lead from erstwhile top man Aaro Vainio of Lotus GP, who finished second. Vainio kept the gap to under a second in the first half of the race, but Kiwi Evans extended this to 2.4s by the start of the final lap, and he coasted home 2.1s ahead by the chequered flag for his second victory of the season.
Evans is now two points clear of Vainio in the championship, thanks to setting the fastest lap of race in Valencia to take a maximum points haul of 31.
Evans's team-mate David Fumanelli lost his front-row starting position by Turn 1, as Vainio steamed past, and then Tio Ellinas (Manor) further demoted him to fourth at Turn 2.
Fumanelli fought back and pulled off a sublime switchback overtaking move on Ellinas at Turn 12 on lap 13 to secure the final place on the podium, but was over 10s in arrears of the leaders by the finish.
The third Arden car of Mathias Laine finished fifth, after pulling away from a huge battle between Daniel Abt (Lotus) and Kevin Ceccon (Ocean) that required a photo finish to decide the position in Abt's favour.
Lotus's Conor Daly, who was stung with a 10-place grid penalty following his Monaco adventures, then further complicated matters by jumping the start but battled back from a drive-through penalty to finish 11th.
Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer) will start Sunday's reversed-grid race from pole, as he finished eighth after winning a fierce battle with Carlin's Will Buller.
Results - 14 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Mitch Evans MW Arden 28m13.357s 2. Aaro Vainio Lotus + 2.190s 3. David Fumanelli MW Arden + 12.571s 4. Tio Ellinas Manor + 13.483s 5. Matias Laine MW Arden + 16.515s 6. Daniel Abt Lotus + 18.748s 7. Kevin Ceccon Ocean + 18.833s 8. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer + 24.335s 9. Tamas Pal Kiss Atech CRS + 27.082s 10. Will Buller Carlin + 31.834s 11. Conor Daly Lotus + 32.279s 12. John Wartique Atech CRS + 33.476s 13. Carmen Jorda Ocean + 47.838s 14. Ethen Ringel Atech CRS + 52.330s 15. Robert Cregan Ocean + 54.192s 16. Alex Brundle Carlin + 1m14.964s 17. Vicky Piria Trident + 1m18.561s 18. Alice Powell Status + 1m31.587s 19. Marlon Stockinger Status + 1 lap Retirements: Dmity Suranovich Manor 2 laps Antonio Felix da Costa Carlin 2 laps Fabiano Machado Manor 0 laps Robert Visouiu Jenzer 0 laps Antonio Spavone Trident 0 laps