Fairuz Fauzy scored a perfectly judged maiden Formula Renault 3.5 triumph at the Hungaroring today.
The Malaysian's determination to convert pole position into the lead was evident in a huge brake lock-up at Turn 1, but the Fortec driver survived the moment and was not offered any serious challenge by the chasing Marco Barba over the remainder of the race.
The breakthrough victory is Fauzy's first in almost three years in the category, and returns him to the winners' circle for the first time since last year's opening A1GP event at Zandvoort.
"I was shocked by the result in qualifying as I thought we had to be higher," said Fauzy. "But we knew our car was really strong on old tyres, and I could control the race today which is pleasing.
"I was only pushing when I needed to, as I had quite a high brake temperature, and I didn't want to cook the brakes. So it was good for me when we had a safety car period and I could give the brakes a rest. Now we just need to work on our speed on new rubber, as well as our strategy for tomorrow. It was hot out there and could be even hotter tomorrow."
Draco's line-up completed the remaining podium positions. Barba took his first podium of the season in second, but the young Spaniard lost ground to Fauzy dramatically at a safety car restart on lap 18.
Bertrand Baguette claimed third to close the gap on championship leader Marcos Martinez to five points. The Belgian battled wheel-to-wheel with his team-mate into Turn 2 on the opening lap, but struggled thereafter with severe understeer. Baguette's dramas allowed James Walker to close within half a second at the flag.
"It is good for the championship to take points out of Marcos and James, but I was killing my front tyres in the race," said Baguette. "On the restart I had picked up a lot of rubber on my tyres and had massive understeer through the last two corners. It was really impossible to get close to Marco."
Jaime Alguersuari staged an excellent recovery after a disappointing qualifying session to leap from ninth on the grid to a solid fifth position. The British Formula 3 champion profited from a stunning opening lap in which he avoided a confused first corner incident that ended third place starter Brendon Hartley's hopes for the afternoon.
Jon Lancaster picked up two points for ninth on his series debut with Comtec, but series returnee Michael Herck had a short race. The GP2 racer was hit at high speed away from the grid, and a hefty impact with the pit wall forced him into retirement.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Fairuz Fauzy Fortec 46m28.278s 2. Marco Barba Draco + 1.969s 3. Bertrand Baguette Draco + 3.382s 4. James Walker P1 + 3.892s 5. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin + 5.728s 6. Marcos Martinez Pons + 8.116s 7. Miguel Molina Ultimate + 10.085s 8. Oliver Turvey Carlin + 10.582s 9. Jon Lancaster Comtec + 11.138s 10. Adrian Zaugg Interwetten + 16.830s 11. Charles Pic Tech 1 + 17.151s 12. Daniil Move P1 + 19.265s 13. Chris van der Drift Epsilon Euskadi + 19.676s 14. Pasquale di Sabatino RC + 20.246s 15. Greg Mansell Ultimate + 20.791s 16. Adrian Valles Epsilon Euskadi + 21.472s 17. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 + 21.651s 18. Sten Pentus Fortec + 27.428s 19. Anton Nebylitskiy SG + 28.595s 20. John Martin Comtec + 29.600s 21. Edoardo Mortara SG + 30.968s 22. Julian Leal Prema + 35.999s Retirements: Federico Leo Pons 23 laps Filip Salaquarda Prema 14 laps Mihai Marinescu RC 7 laps Michael Herck Interwetten 0 laps