Zhivko Dimitrov became just the 12th different winner in Season 2017 as he held on to claim a comfortable win from pole position in the brilliant Italian sunshine.
He never looked in trouble the moment he left his grid slot and immediately pulled away from Holzberg and Brynildsen, however both of them were out dragged to Turn 1 by Rodolfo de la Fuente as he swooped into 2nd place. Coming out of the first chicane, Oleksandr Zozulya was the next driver to cash in as he also grabbed 2 spots, again on Brynildsen and Toivonen, and he jumped to 4th around the Curva Grande.
Also along the Curva Grande, James Vasquez and Felix Perez continued their form from the Feature Race as they put moves on Andrey Kerzhakov and Sergio Alvarez, while yesterday's pole sitter lost another place to Hunter Ryan on the run toward Ascari.
Aleksandr Hadzic pitted at the end of Lap 1 after he obtained front wing damage after colliding with Ellenor Haugland after he had made a decent start, but now sat half a lap behind the rest of the field after his stop.
As the race began to settle Otso Toivonen and Viktor Ostberg began to show their hands, getting slipstreams galore as Ostberg tucked himself behind Toivonen's rear wing. When Toivonen passed 1 car, Ostberg would get his move in on the same lap.
This continued all the way until they ran 3rd and 4th respectively after Rodolfo de la Fuente went straight on at Turn 1 as Ostberg did in the Feature Race, losing 3 positions and promoting Zozulya to 2nd position. Niklaus Holzberg had made the same error 2 laps before and still remained behind the Spaniard after his off, to the German's disgust as he lashed out over team radio.
And to top it all off... Brynildsen overtook him at the Ascari chicane on the same lap.
Further back, James Vasquez would've been seeing as much red as Holzberg as he was trying to deal with a Brittany Johnson determined to stay ahead of the Colombian. It was becoming the great battle between North and South America as Johnson was following the textbook and staying ahead of Vasquez to his frustration.
The battle was interrupted and ended by Central America in the form of Felix Perez, overtaking both after they made contact in the Rettifilo Chicane. His move caught out Johnson on the exit and allowed Vasquez to finally bolt ahead with a few colourful words on his radio given his championship rival was now ahead.
As Sergio Alvarez also completed a move on Brittany Johnson at the Parabolica, the running order was as follows at half distance:
In the final laps it turned out Turn 1 would become an important factor in determining the results, as Zozulya tripped up and had to take to the run-off, allowing Toivonen, Ostberg and de la Fuente through and costing him any chance of a podium finish. De la Fuente had caught up to the back of Ostberg and Toivonen after his error and looked like he was ready to take back 2nd.
And that's exactly what he did. He overtook Ostberg on the run into the Ascari Chicane after the Swede ran wide st the 2nd Lesmo. The overtake on Toivonen came along the start/finish straight as a brilliant toe saw the Spaniard back up to 2nd, but some 8 seconds behind leader Dimitrov, who was just in a class of his own up front.
Very little happened until the final lap when Perez finally caught Niklaus Holzberg. The German defended the inside like his life depended on it, but it didn't stop Perez from flinging his car around the outside! It seems like the overtake of the race!
Until they made contact and both went off track. Both drivers went off at each other to their teams through radio blaming each other, as Holzberg still came out ahead of Perez when racing resumed, but they went from 7th and 8th to 9th and 11th, with Hunter Ryan acting as the referee in the words of some on social media.
Attention turned to the small section of Bulgarian fans in the grandstands as Zhivko Dimitrov waved to them before he entered the Parabolica, to win his first race of the FV2 Series with his 8 second lead still fully intact over de la Fuente, who just managed to hold off Toivonen by 6 tenths. The same couldn't be said about Viktor Ostberg and James Vasquez, as they lost out to Zozulya and Alvarez respectively on the run to the line. Full Results Below: