Friday qualifying resulted in Will Palmer starting from pole of race one ahead of Sacha Fenestraz, Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP), Max Defourny and Red Bull Junior Team rookies Daniel Ticktum and Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport).
Palmer solid at the start
With a clean getaway, Will Palmer held on to the lead in front of Sacha Fenestraz. Behind the two, Max Defourny challenged team mate Robert Shwartzman in the first sector, but the Russian held on to third place at the end of the opening lap that saw the race of Frank Bird (Fortec Motorsports) come to a premature end.
Defourny surprises Shwartzman
The gap between the leaders remained under one second for quite a while. Nevertheless, Will Palmer was able to resist the pressure coming from Sacha Fenestraz. Back in the field, Axel Matus (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Thomas Neubauer (Tech 1 Racing) and Presley Martono (Mark Burdett Motorsport) all got caught out.
Stringing together a series of fast laps, Will Palmer pulled away to take the victory ahead of Sacha Fenestraz and Max Defourny, who surprised Robert Shwartzman on the outside at Massenet to claim the third step on the podium on the penultimate lap.
Fifth, Richard Verschoor was penalized ten seconds for jumping the start. The Dutchman was dropped to eighth place behind Daniel Ticktum, Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) and Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing). Alexey Korneev (Fortec Motorsports) and Alexander Vartanyan (JD Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Will Palmer (R-ace GP) : “Firstly it was extraordinary to race at Monaco, but to win on this legendary circuit is so much more. It was difficult, but I got a good start before attacking on each lap of this track that offers so many sensations. Sacha was very close, but we all know how tough it is to pass at Monaco. Fortunately, my pace was solid and I was able to build a small lead that let me manage the late stages of the race. Tomorrow, the start will be key. It would be fantastic to get the better of Sacha at the first corner.”
Firstly it was extraordinary to race at Monaco, but to win on this legendary circuit is so much more. It was difficult, but I got a good start before attacking on each lap of this track that offers so many sensations.
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) : “The goal was to get a good start to overtake Will Palmer, but it didn’t happen. I had to attack during the first five laps to catch him up. Then there were a few opportunities, but he was a little too far ahead and it was complicated. I preferred to take it easy to guard this very nice second place. Tomorrow, I will have to get an excellent send off to stay and finish in front”
Max Defourny (R-ace GP) : “I got a good start, but couldn’t find a gap at the first corner. It was a little tense going up the hill, but I didn’t have enough heat in the tyres to try an outside move. My pace was good throughout the race and I was able to pressure Robert, who made a small mistake that I was able to take advantage of. I was able to get by him on the outside at Massenet. I will have to continue to battle tomorrow.”
|1. Will Palmer (R-ace GP)||129|
|2. Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP)||117|
|3. Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing)||90|
|4. Max Defourny (R-ace GP)||66|
|5. Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports)||59|
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications.