Félix da Costa victorious at Hungaroring
|1.||A. Felix da Costa||26:33.107|
28 July 2012 – The smile couldn’t be bigger on António Félix Da Costa’s face. After starting from P2 on the grid, the Portuguese ace made the perfect getaway to claim the lead and set off into the distance to claim a very welcome 25 points, plus a further two for fastest lap.
After the nightmare of two non-scores in Hockenheim for the Carlin driver, Hungary has been a happy hunting ground so far for Felix Da Costa. Daniel Abt (Lotus GP) and Mitch Evans (MW Arden) finished second and third.
Race 1 of Round 6 of the Series took place under glorious blue skies with a track temperature of 41 degrees. Pole man Aaro Vainio who was also fastest in Free Practice, didn’t make the best of starts and dropped down to P4 but all eyes were on the battle at the front between Felix Da Costa and Evans. The Carlin driver shot into P1 but the New Zealander wasn’t going to let him have it all his own way and tried to snatch the lead from him. The fight was on but Felix Da Costa maintained his position on the inside of Evans and resisted the MW Arden’s best efforts on a frenetic first lap.
Abt was on the move at the start, from fifth to third, whilst Kevin Ceccon and Conor Daly also moved up two places each. Double race winner Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport) stalled on the grid from tenth position and would eventually finish 16th. P2 soon belonged to Abt as he found a way through on Series leader Evans at turn five as the New Zealander was busy dealing with Felix Da Costa and the German driver used his momentum to catch the MW Arden off guard.
Marussia Manor Racing’s Dmitry Suranovich retired from the race after pitting twice, whilst William Buller (Carlin) had to make an early pit stop for repairs which cost him valuable places. As the laps counted down, Félix da Costa increased his advantage at the front to four seconds and maintained a comfortable margin, controlling the race. Evans was hot on Abt’s tail and was never more than half a second behind, but was unable to find a way to pass around the twist and turns of the Hungaroring.
Ceccon made his move on Vainio early on to steal P4 and the Finn was unable to make a manoeuvre to bypass the Ocean Racing Technology car. Marlon Stöckinger (Status Grand Prix) who had started P4 on the grid, found himself down in tenth place and was battling with his team-mate Lewis Williamson. The Filipino got past the Scotsman for P9 which brought them both home in the points.
Félix da Costa cruised home to record Carlin’s third victory of the season, with Abt equalling his best result of the season, but crucially this time picking up more points with a Race 1 podium. Evans finished P3, ahead of Ceccon, Vainio, Daly, Matias Laine, David Fumanelli, Stockinger and Williamson.
Evans now extends his advantage in the championship to 19 points over Vainio with Abt in third. Lotus GP top the Team Standings ahead of MW Arden. Fabiano Machado (Marussia Manor Racing) was withdrawn prior to the race. Reverse pole tomorrow goes to Fumanelli.
Race 2 begins at 9:25am local time (BST +1) on Sunday