Preseason title favorite Mitch Evans kicked off his GP3 Series campaign with victory in round one at Barcelona.
The MW Arden driver simply had to be patient in third until leaders Daniel Abt (Lotus) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Carlin) were penalized for jump-starts. Once elevated into the lead, Evans was able to pull away from second-place Status driver Marlon Stockinger and win by 2.6 seconds despite a mid-race safety car to retrieve Kevin Ceccon's Ocean car, which had stopped on course.
Both polesitter da Costa and sixth-place starter Abt had rolled forward on the grid before the lights went out, but Abt then turned his issue into a brilliant getaway, surging through to second and then passing da Costa into Turn 1. Their drive-throughs dropped them outside the top 20, but they fought back to 13th and 14th, Abt still ahead.
In contrast to Abt and da Costa, front-row qualifier Conor Daly went backward at the start, and was then overtaken in quick succession by Jenzer's Patric Niederhauser and MW Arden's Matias Laine.
Rookie Niederhauser went on to attack Daly's Lotus teammate Aaro Vainio for third, briefly making it in front into the first corner before Vainio fought back at Turn 3 and reclaimed the final podium spot for good. Niederhauser then had to fend of Laine and Daly, who were also caught by the flying Tio Ellinas. A penalty for a yellow flag infringement had dropped the Manor driver from sixth to 16th on the grid, but he recovered to seventh in the race.
Eighth and race two pole went to Robert Visoiu (Jenzer), while MW Arden's David Fumanelli and Carlin's Alex Brundle completed the top 10.