Reigning Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion Kevin Korjus produced a faultless drive to take victory in race two of the opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5 season at Motorland Aragon.
The Estonian surpassed his own expectations for acclimatizing to the 480bhp World Series car. Korjus had feared it would be impossible to win a race this season against more experienced opposition, but led home Saturday's race one winner Alexander Rossi by 1.7 seconds.
At 18 years, three months and eight days old, Korjus becomes the youngest-ever winner of a Formula Renault 3.5 race. He beats the record previously held by Charles Pic by two days. Pic was also at the wheel of a Tech 1 car when he took victory in Monaco in 2008.
"I wasn't expecting this today," said Korjus. "I was P9 in qualifying until my last lap when I got P2. The race was just amazing. The car was even better after the pitstops, but when I came out I saw Alexander Rossi was getting closer and closer to me. I thought, 'Okay he is going to overtake, I need to focus on second position,' but I think he was pushing really hard and his rear tyres got tired."
Albert Costa chased Korjus in the early laps, but suffered from a long brake pedal after his mandatory pitstop. On a circuit that he does not rate among his favourites, the Spaniard was happy to settle for third on the debut outing of EPIC Racing, formerly Epsilon Euskadi.
Polesitter Cesar Ramos made a slow getaway and was down to third by the exit of Turn 1. The Brazilian was passed by teammate Rossi in the pitstop phase and finished fourth. Rossi's second position maintains the American's early lead in the drivers' standings.
Robert Wickens claimed fifth for Carlin ahead of Anton Nebylitskiy, who showed no after affects from his frightening somersault over Arthur Pic's Tech 1 car during Saturday's race.
Nebylitskiy's KMP Racing team-mate Nelson Panciatici ran as high as fourth before retiring with fuel pressure failure at Turn 1 on lap eight.
Stephane Richelmi was the race's first retirement. The Monegasque was launched into the air at a congested Turn 1 on the opening lap.
The closest battle over the final laps was provided by a tremendous scrap for eighth, as a gaggle of cars formed behind ISR's Nathanael Berthon. British Formula 3 graduate Oliver Webb briefly managed to pass last year's Magny-Cours victor at the Turn 16 hairpin, before spinning at the conclusion of the maneuver.
In the second ISR entry, Lewis Williamson suffered a tough afternoon after a respectable qualifying performance. Williamson was penalized 20 seconds for making his pitstop a lap outside of the mandatory window. Also penalised were Daniil Move [P1 Motorsport] and Daniel Zampieri [BVM Target], both on the receiving end of drive-through penalties for speeding in the pitlane.
Results - 26 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 46m11.799s
2. Alexander Rossi Fortec + 1.735s
3. Albert Costa EPIC + 8.154s
4. Cesar Ramos Fortec + 8.777s
5. Robert Wickens Carlin + 9.679s
6. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP + 20.359s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin + 26.401s
8. Nathanael Berthon ISR + 34.925s
9. Andre Negrao Draco + 35.099s
10. Sergio Canamasas Target + 35.684s
11. Sten Pentus EPIC + 36.118s
12. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz + 36.807s
13. Chris van der Drift Mofaz + 37.171s
14. Arthur Pic Tech 1 + 37.758s
15. Lewis Williamson ISR + 38.660s
16. Daniel de Jong Comtec + 41.463s
17. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 47.091s
18. Oliver Webb Pons + 49.593s
19. Daniil Move P1 + 49.915s
20. Dominic Storey Pons + 58.306s
21. Daniel Zampieri Target + 1m07.484s
22. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz + 1m22.900s
23. Daniel McKenzie Comtec + 1m35.151s
Nelson Panciatici KMP 8 laps
Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1 lap
Stephane Richelmi Draco 0 laps