Kral claims first Master win of 2009
Josef Kral claimed his first International Formula Master victory of the season, and the first since his first win at Oschersleben last year, with a lights-to-flag victory in the first of this weekend's two races in support of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Czech took advantage of starting on the clean side of the track to lead comfortably into the first corner, with Jenzer Motorsport's Fabio Leimer concentrating on holding second place after struggling for grip off the line.
Although Leimer was able to get on terms with Kral in the early laps of the race, the JD Motorsport driver called on the pace that had earned him pole position by establishing a two second lead by half distance that Leimer could not cut into.
Despite having to settle for second by almost five seconds, Leimer extended his championship lead, with Kral now his closest challenger in the standings after Pal Varhaug, second in the points before the race, could manage only 11th place.
Alex Rossi, driving for ISR, took third place after passing IFM returnee Earl Bamber into the first corner, with the New Zealander having to settle for fifth place after debutant Alex Sims passed him in the closing laps of the race.
There was an impressive charge from Formula 3 Euro Series regular Sims, who started down in seventh after qualifying using only fourth, fifth and sixth gears because of a downshift problem on Friday. Had the race been a few laps longer, he might have threatened Rossi for the final podium place.
AR Motorsport's Paul Meijer took sixth place after a tight battle with Kral's team-mate, Sergey Afanasiev, while Erik Janis earned reversed-grid pole position for tomorrow morning's race with eighth.