Zanella wins opening Magny-Cours race
Christopher Zanella has won the third round of the FIA Formula Two Championship with a mature drive in changeable conditions. The Swiss driver chased down Miki Monras and Alex Brundle after losing out to Ramon Pineiro in the opening laps.
Brundle made a superb start to lead into the first corner and was pulling clear of the field early in the race as Monras held second. Zanella lost out to Pineiro and spent several laps attempting to take the place back, leaving the leading pair the chance to open up a gap.
Midway through the race it started to rain and this lasted for the duration, if anything intensifying as the field struggled to keep the 500bhp cars on the track. There were several spinners early on, in particular Jack Clarke and James Cole losing out on a chance to impress after their top ten grid slots and Mihai Marinescu lasted half a lap before retiring.
Whilst Zanella worked on Pineiro, an inspired Tobais Hegewald was working his way up from sixth. First Mirko Bortolotti lost a place to the German, then Will Bratt became a target and with Zanella released into third and closing on the leading pair, the chase was on.
At mid distance the race became a three-way fight but whilst Monras could chase down Brundle, he couldn't pass and Zanella pulled a move on the Spaniard to take second place. Not long after he claimed the lead and the pair behind awaited Hegewald's arrival.
Hegewald picked off Monras fairly easily and soon found his way past Brundle but was unable to catch Zanella and with the race reaching its time limit, the Swiss was an ecstatic winner after a thrilling race.
Behind this quartet in fifth, Pineiro was unable to make an impression after being passed by Zanella but held off Bortolotti, who has lost the championship lead to Monras - although only by a single point. Jon Lancaster took seventh on his debut, with Bratt falling back to eighth, Thiemo Storz ninth and Kelvin Snoeks tenth.
Commenting on his win, a jubilant Zanella said, “A great feeling for me, for the race I had a really bad start and after that I tried to stay with the others, then to close the gap. Lap by lap I was trying to find the best line and then I overtook one after the other and that was really good. It was a hard race and especially at the end when you’re alone and you start to have some thoughts and that can be very dangerous. I’m really happy that I’m first”
RACE ONE: TOP-10
1. Christopher Zanella, 21 laps
2. Tobias Hegewald, +7.937s
3. Alex Brundle, +9.382s
4. Miki Monras, +11.707s
5. Ramon Pineiro, +20.978s
6. Mirko Bortolotti , +21.837s
7. Jon Lancaster, +22.492s
8. Will Bratt, +33.682s
9. Thiemo Storz, +34.802s
10. Kelvin Snoeks, +39.729s