Felipe Drugovich (RP Motorsport) wins first race of the season

14.04.2018

Brazilian Drugovich converted pole position into win at Estoril. Iorio and Das stepped second and third onto the podium for Carlin. Viscaal (Teo Martin Motorsport) claimed Rookies’ class win ahead of Dunner (Drivex) and Baltas (Campos Racing)

A new Euroformula Open season opened pretty much the same way the 2017 season ended: Felipe Drugovich (RP Motorsport) bringing a race win home in the series. Brazilian Drugovich, who made his debut at EF Open season finale last year, had a perfect Saturday in claiming pole position and win at Estoril. Carlin also performed extremely well with two drivers on the podium: Brazilian Matheus Iorio and American Cameron Das. Argentinean Marcos Siebert (Campos Racing) completed a strong debut ahead of Bent Viscaal (Teo Martín Motorsport), the latter rounding out the top-five and taking top honors in Rookies’ class.

In the morning, Drugovich collared the opening pole position by clocking a time of 1m31.833s. His fellow countryman Iorio gave Carlin a front row start with second place. Siebert was 3rd fastest alongside Viscaal. Further adrift, Guilherme Samaia (RP Motorsport) and Das started from the third row. German Jannes Fittje spearheaded the charge for Drivex and shared row four with Petru Florescu (Fortec Motorsports). Finally, Austrian Lukas Dunner (Drivex) and Calan Williams (Fortec Motorsports) also made it into the top-ten.

As the lights went off, Drugovich kept Iorio and Siebert at bay. Das made a great start to move up to fourth place ahead of Samaia, Viscaal, Fittje and Florescu. Still in lap 2, Das moved into the podium positions by overtaking Siebert showing real pace as he also set the fastest lap to catch Drugovich and Iorio. Viscaal passed Samaia for fifth in the opening stages.

Drugovich, as he later explained during post-race press conference, was keeping tire degradation under control. Despite Iorio and Das were keeping the pace in the opening laps, throughout the second half of the race, Drugovich stretched the gap considerably. Meanwhile, Siebert was running in fourth and fended off Viscaal and Dunner moved up to sixth after passing Samaia and Fittje.

After 19 laps, Drugovich finished nearly seven seconds up on Iorio at the checkered flag. Das pulled over four seconds clear of Siebert but in the closing minutes, Siebert put the American driver under pressure. Das still finished third ahead of Siebert. Viscaal ended up fifth and Dunner made it to the finish in sixth place. Samaia and Fittje caught the eye at the end with a close battle for seventh but the Brazilian still managed to beat Jannes. Yves Baltas (Campos Racing) and Michaël Benyahia (RP Motorsport) also secured top ten placements.