The Frenchman, who posted second quickest time in the Sunday morning’s qualifying session, took the lead from poleman Tom Dillman (AVF) at turn one. He led the race from lap 1 with his fellow Frenchman in close pursuit. A superb pit stop by the Arden Motorsport team enabled Aurelien to build a gap on Dillman to cross the line two seconds clear and take his first win in the Championship. Sunday’s event were a marked improvement on the previous day where Aurelien had qualified ninth and finished fifth, still picking up his first ten points. Aurelien leads the Championship going into Round 2 in Budapest this weekend.
Team-mate Egor Orudzhev had a less fortunate weekend. The sophomore qualified on pole for Race 1 on Saturday, however ran wide on the opening lap at the turn 8 corkscrew and damaged his front wing forcing the Russian to retire. This did not defeat Egor as he posted fourth quickest in Sunday’s qualifying session. However, a clutch issue at the start moved Egor to start from the pit lane, leaving him with a lot of work to do. The Russian retired on lap 21 having touched fellow SMP driver Matevos ISAAKYAN (SMP Racing).
Egor: “At the beginning of the weekend the car felt good. I felt good in the car straight away and the car remained good all weekend. I managed to put in pole time on Saturday but then in the first race I made a mistake, so we had to retire, even though we were leading. On Sunday, the car was still good and I qualified fourth. I think we could have put it on pole again but I didn’t manage to put a lap together. It was a decent result all the same. We had a clutch issue at the start of the race so I had to start from the pit lane and then I made some mistakes in the race, so it’s a shame the weekend didn’t finish as it started. I am happy the car is feeling good and the team is working well. I just need to put myself together and the results will come.”
Aurelien: “Saturday’s qualifying was difficult for me, I wasn’t feeling 100% in the car and I didn’t manage to put in a good lap. So I was a bit disappointed with this qualifying. The race in the afternoon was quite good. I was happy to finish top 5. I had a good start and the first lap was a bit difficult but we had good race, the car was good and it’s a nice result to finish fifth.
Sunday was a great day for me! I had a really good qualifying session and finished second, with last lap being my best. I had a good start in race two, I overtook Dillman on the first corner but it was hard from there, Dillman was quick and I was working hard to hold him off. The team did a very good job in the pit stop, they were quick and we managed to create a gap to Dillman and to hold him off to the end.
I am very happy for the first weekend with Arden, a big thanks to them. The car was really good, the pit stop was perfect. Now I’m looking forward to Budapest to try to continue in this way.”
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