New winners for the Euroformula championship emerged from the first race at the Hungaroring, with Cem Bölükbaşi winning on his series debut with the Van Amersfoort Racing team.
VAR has raced in the series since 2020, and picks up its first Euroformula win to go alongside victories in many of the iconic junior single-seater categories of the past and present.
Bölükbaşi qualified fifth, and ended the first lap of the race in second place as drama occurred through the opening two corners. Jak Crawford started slowly from pole, and his Motopark team-mate Cameron Das took to his inside while CryptoTower Racing Team’s Louis Foster made a great launch (later deemed to have been a jumped start) to go around the outside of Crawford.
However as they converged at the first corner the front wing of Crawford made contact with the rear-right of Foster, which led to Foster spinning to the back. Das moved into the lead, and Crawford lost second place at turn two when he locked up defending against VAR’s Rafael Villagomez and instead enabled Bölükbaşi to get into second place.
Bölükbaşi ran a few seconds behind Das before a scary brake failure sent him off-track and down the order, and putting Bölükbaşi in the lead in his first ever Euroformula race. While Das was able to return to the pits with a heavily damaged car, with a chassis he had actually swapped on Friday, he then retired rather than continued.
Through the second half of the race, Bölükbaşi edged away from his team-mate Rafael Villagomez - who was under pressure from Drivex’s debutant Joshua Dürksen - to win.
“That was amazing, I don’t think it could go any better really,” Bölükbaşi said.
“It was a no-error race, had a decent start - I think I lost one or two positions, got some of them back at turn one, some of them back at turn two, and some of them later on in the race. To finish a race, I was just counting laps at the end because that race just did not finish for me. You know, when it’s your first win, going for your first, just amazing, I can’t thank the team enough.”
Despite setting far fewer laps in free practice and qualifying than his rivals, Bölükbaşi was confident he understood how to make his Michelin tyres last a race distance.
“I think it was more like feeling, trusting my team-mates, they have experience, I know I can trust them.”
Double R Racing’s Josh Mason charged up the grid from 10th place to finish a well-deserved fourth, and Casper Stevenson (VAR) finished fifth are picking up his pace in the late stages of the race.
CryptoTower trio Nazim Azman, Foster and Filip Kaminiarz were sixth, seventh and eighth, meaning Foster reduced Das’s championship lead by six points. Foster’s seventh place also came despite a five-second penalty for his jumped start.
Zdenek Chovanec (Double R) and Enzo Scionti (Drivex) occupied the final points positions, and home hero Vivien Keszthelyi (Motopark) came 11th in her first single-seater race on Hungarian soil. After pitting for a new front wing, Crawford came a distant 12th.