Liam Lawson starts Euroformula season with victory at Paul Ricard


Liam Lawson took victory in the opening race of the 2019 Eurofromula Open today at Paul Ricard, at the wheel of the Spiess-powered Dallara F317 entered by Motopark. It was a winning debut for the New Zealander, the German team and the engine - one of the three allowed in the series as from this year.

Yuki Tsunoda made it a 1-2 for the team, with poleman Lukas Dunner (Teo Martín Motorsport) finishing third. Lawson started the race in third, behind Dunner and Motopark team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

A poor start for Tsunoda allowed Lawson to use superior speed to get through by Turn 1, and from there it was a case of hounding the leader until a safety car was brought out in response to a clash between Cameron Das and Artem Petrov.

Lawson repeated his lap one move on Dunner after the safety car restart, which also allowed Tsunoda through, and stretched out a lead of around a second through the first half of the race. After a while Tsunoda started to close in, and as Lawson prioritised defending his lead the third placed car of Dunner was brought back into play.

Less than a second covered the top three, and on several occasions Dunner attempted overtaking Tsunoda. The Japanese driver expertly judged his defence though, and in doing so gave team-mate Lawson a small but crucial gap up front.

Lawson crossed the finish line after 17 laps to take a historic victory, while Tsunoda held off HWA-powered Dunner by 0.395 seconds.

After starting down in 10th, Double R Racing’s Linus Lundvqvist was one of the stars of the race in working his way up to fourth by the finish, putting him in third in the rookie classification behind Lawson and Tsunoda.

A similarly impressive climb was completed by Carlin’s Billy Monger, who rose from 19th to finish 10th, and was the last of the points scorers. In between the two were Japanese pair Marino Sato and Teppei Natori, Julian Hanses, free practice pacesetter Guilherme Samaia and the second Double R car of Jack Doohan.

Sixteen of the 21 starters finished the race. In addition to retirees Das and Petrov, there was also a incident that removed Christian Hahn and Aldo Festante from the race, as well as a technical problem for Javier Gonzalez.