Jenzer Motorsport's Fabio Leimer claimed yesterday's win in Formula Master's round 13 at Imola; his second victory of the season.
The 19-year-old Swiss passed pole-setter Chris van der Drift at the first corner and led for the remainder of the round, winning the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari's inaugural race since it was renovated.
Despite posting the fastest lap time of the race, 1:38.718, JD Motorsport's Chris van der Drift was unable to regain his position and finished the race in second place.
Formula Master newcomer Esteban Gutierrez got off to a great start, moving from fifth to third by overtaking Iris Project's Michael Ammermüller and ISR's Tim Sandtler on the first lap. Trident Racing's Gutierrez claimed third place on his first outing for Formula Master, ahead of Euronova Racing's Yuhi Sekiguchi.
Drivers' title contender Ammermüller led an intense battle for fifth place, which saw Trident Racing's Harald Schlegemilch and ADM Motorsport's Earl Bamber vying with the German for position.
Ammermuller retained fifth place however, with Schlegelmilch eventually finishing the 16-lap race in sixth position followed by Bamber in seventh.
Team JVA's Josef Kral secured the last points-scoring position and will start tomorrow's race in P1 thanks to the Series' reverse grid regulations.
Jenzer Motorsport pair Leimer and Matei Mihaescu claimed today's best team-mates awards thanks to Leimer's win, which also granted him the best rookie accolade.
All four 2008 titles remain to be won; van der Drift now leads the Drivers Classification by 17 points ahead of Ammermüller with three races remaining.
Fabio Leimer, Jenzer Motorsport "Yesterday I had a bit of bad luck during qualifying, so had to start behind Chris [van der Drift] on the grid. But I got a really good start and managed to overtake him. I was faster than him at the start of the race, but he was pushing hard near the end and closed the gap every lap.
"The last two laps, he was getting very close; but by the last lap I knew it was not close enough, unless I made a mistake!
"The championship is very important to me but Chris is still a lot of points ahead. It's important that I win another race here and it is easier to overtake than at other tracks, so we can be hopeful but we will have to wait and see what is possible tomorrow."
Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport "It was tricky starting the race from the outside and Fabio [Leimer] was alongside almost from the beginning. So the start didn't turn out as well as I hoped. I was pushing in the first few laps but Leimer was faster. I tried to keep consistent towards the end and managed to close the gap, but I don't think I could have driven any faster!"
Esteban Gutierrez, Trident Racing "In free practice and qualifying yesterday we had to deal with every possible condition, so I felt prepared for today's race. I tried to get a good start and keep the cleanest line possible and am very happy to have done so well in my first Formula Master race."
Formula Master - Imola Round 13 1. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23) 2. Chris van der Drift (NZL), JD Motorsport (#6) 3. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), Trident Racing (#34) 4. Yuhi Sekiguchi (JAP), Euronova Racing (#45) 5. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Iris Project (#27) 6. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31) 7. Earl Bamber (NZL), ADM Motorsport (#11) 8. Josef Kral (CZH), Team JVA (#29) 9. Frankie Provenzano (ITA), Cram Competition (#21) 10. Marcello Puglisi (ITA), Cram Competition (#9) 11. Matei Mihaescu (ROM), Jenzer Motorsport (#24) 12. Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5) 13. Tor Graves (GBR), Team JVA (#30) 14. Daniel Mancinelli (ITA), Scuderia Famà (#46) 15. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4) 16. Giacomo Ricci (ITA), Euronova Racing (#37) 17. Arturo Llobell (ESP), Cram Competition (#1) 18. Marco Menotti (SUI), Iris Project (#28) 19. Tomas Pivoda (CZH), ADM Motorsport (#8) Not classified Michele Caliendo (ITA), ADM Motorsport (#22) Tim Sandtler (GER), ISR (#19)
Formula Master drivers classification - top eight 1. Chris van der Drift (NZL), JD Motorsport (#6), 83 points 2. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Iris Project (#27), 66 points 3. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23), 55 points 4. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31), 37 points 5. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4), 29 points 6. Kasper Andersen (DEN), Trident Racing (#32), 27 points 7. Arturo Llobell (ESP), Cram Competition (#1), 24.5 points 8. Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5), 22 points
Formula Master teams classification - top eight1. JD Motorsport, 132 points 2. Trident Racing, 80 points 3. Iris Project, 66 points 4. Cram Competition, 59 points 5. Jenzer Motorsport, 58 points 6. ADM Motorsport, 26 points 7. Euronova Racing, 20.5 points 8. Team JVA, 14 points
Formula Master rookies classification - top eight 1. Michael Ammermüller (GER), Iris Project (#27), 90 points 2. Fabio Leimer (SUI), Jenzer Motorsport (#23), 70 points 3. Harald Schlegelmilch (LAT), Trident Racing (#31), 56.5 points 4. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BUL), JD Motorsport (#4), 45 points 5. Sergey Afanasiev (RUS), JD Motorsport (#5), 37 points 6. Tim Sandtler (GER), ISR (#19), 34 points 7. Alejandro Núñez (ESP), Trident Racing (#33), 28 points 8. Josef Kral (CZH), Team JVA (#29), 26.5 points
Formula Master team-mates classification - top eight 1. Vladimir Arabadzhiev & Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport, 649 points 2. Sergey Afanasiev & Chris van der Drift, JD Motorsport, 638 points 3. Fabio Leimer & Matei Mihaescu, Jenzer Motorsport, 524 points 4. Sergey Afanasiev & Vladimir Arabadzhiev, JD Motorsport, 497 points 5. Alejandro Núñez & Harald Schlegelmilch, Trident Racing, 405 points 6. Kasper Andersen & Harald Schlegelmilch, Trident Racing, 400.5 points 7. Kasper Andersen & Alejandro Núñez, Trident Racing, 369.5 points 8. Michele Caliendo & Norbert Siedler, ADM Motorsport, 358.5 points
Lap-by-lap analysis Lap 1: Leimer passes van der Drift for the lead at the start / Gutierrez passes Ammermüller and Sandtler for third place / Sekiguchi passes Ammermüller for fifth position Lap 2: Puglisi spins at Turn 10 and rejoins / Mancinelli and Caliendo both spin and rejoin Lap 3: Afanasiev passes Graves for ninth place / Mancinelli passes Pivoda for 16th place / Sandtler pits - OUT Lap 4: Close battle between Ammermüller, Schlegelmilch and Bamber for fifth place / Ricci and Arabadzhiev out at Turn 16 and rejoin Lap 6: Mancinelli passes Mihaescu for 13th place Lap 7: Mancinelli, Puglisi and Mihaescu pass Graves / Mancinelli is now in P12 Lap 10: Contact between Pivoda and Caliendo at Turn 16 / Caliendo - OUT Lap 12: Bamber passes Schlegelmilch for sixth place / Llobell passes Provenzano for 10th position Lap 13: Schlegelmilch passes Bamber for sixth place / Provenzano passes Llobell for 10th place Lap 14: Van der Drift posts the fastest lap of the race: 1:38.718 / Provenzano and Llobell pass Afanasiev / Provenzano now in ninth place Lap 15: Puglisi, Mancinelli and Mihaescu pass Anafanasiev / Puglisi now in 11th place Lap 16: Llobell spins and rejoins in 17th place
Chequered flag: 13:00
Eurosport's coverage for Formula Master's race weekend in Imola continues tomorrow with race two shown live on Eurosport 2 and Asia Pacific at 14:00 (CET). WSB - Suzuki on 2nd row