On a damp Sunday morning with heavy drizzle falling throughout the whole race, it was Spaniard who mastered the conditions to notch up his 1st win of the season in a dramatic race, with no fewer than 10 retirements from the race. It included 5 on lap 1, but by staying clear of the accidents, de la Fuente became the 7th different winner in 8 races. Alongside him on the podium were the only man to win multiple races, Felix Perez and yesterday's winner in Oleksandr Zozulya.
Reverse pole sitter Lucio Valente could not have gotten off to a worse possible start, down to 15th before the first corner. It soon became apparent he had a gearbox issue, but his slow car caused carnage near the back of the field.
The Aliyev brothers had no chance of avoiding each other as James Vasquez spun trying to avoid Valente exiting Turn 1, and the collisions ensured they would be spending the day on the sidelines by, alongside Zander Brynildsen who's car never left his grid slot.
Thankfully the safety car didn't need to be deployed, but the carnage led to de la Fuente leading from Perez, with Ostberg jumping from 7th to 3rd at the end of the first sector. By the end of the lap however he'd lost that place to Ellenor Haugland after losing the rear at Turn 7. Following them at the end of the first lap and into the double waved yellows at Turn 1 were Alvarez, Zozulya (from 13th on the grid), Holzberg and Andrey Kerzhakov all in the top 8, as Valente pitted to retire his car.
Zozulya had made the best gain by far in the opening lap, up 7 spots as he sliced and diced his way through the midfield. On the other side of the spectrum, Andrey Kerzhakov and Steven Kasami both lost 3 places in the opening lap to be running 8th and 9th respectively.
Drivers continuously stumbled as the circuit would not dry due to the rain. Ostberg got back ahead of Haugland on Lap 3 as the Nord struggled to get her tyres up to temperature. It allowed for Alvarez to have a look at the start of Lap 4, but he made silly contact with the sidepod of Haugland, allowing Zozulya to overtake the pair of them and go to 4th position, whilst Niklaus Holzberg slotted in between the 2 damaged cars.
Holzberg's teammate Kasami was still struggling to get to grips with the circuit, as he continued to lose places. By the end of Lap 6 he had dropped from his grid slot of 6th to 11th, just inside the points with Brittany Johnson also eyeing him off as he struggled like others for rear end grip.
The lack of grip certainly affected Mike Fredrickson Jr however. He was continuously reporting on the radio that his car was undriveable in the final 2 sectors, however he locked his brakes at Turn 1 and beached his car in the gravel, ruling him out of proceedings., which were as follows at half distance:
It was around half distance that the rain began to slightly ease and drivers began to up their pace. With the field as sprung out as it was, the slight change in conditions started slowly began bringing some drivers back into play, most notably Oleksandr Zozulya, who was nearly 4 tenths of a second faster than the entire field.
It took the Ukrainian multiple laps but he eventually caught Viktor Ostberg, who couldn't really provide much resistance after losing the rear of his car slightly in Turn 2.
The drama didn't stop there as on the next lap Ostberg ran wide again at Turn 2, this time even losing a place to Ellenor Haugland. The Swede had dropped from the podium to P5 in a matter of 90 seconds, then at the same corner 25 seconds later, Aliagas attempted a rather rash attempt at taking a position on Zhivko Dimitrov. The clumsy move saw the 2 drivers out of the race on the spot, leaving Dimitrov fuming and trying to get physical with the New Caledonian, but was forced away by the marshalls.
The incident left a load of debris on the outside of Turn 2. Anybody who would run wide at the corner onto the slippery stuff were sure to suffer the consequences. Unfortunately for Andrey Kerzhakov, he became the first and only driver to succumb, as he ran over the debris and caused a puncture.
What made things worse is that as his tyre began to shred itself, it clean ripped his wishbone into at Turn 6, spelling an end to his eventful race.
His retirement led to a final points paying position battle between Toivonen and Thompson. Like Zozulya, Toivonen began to look more comfortable as his car better suited the drying conditions, and now only Thompson stood between him and points, which would come as consolation to him following a tough weekend.
Toivonen began pressuring Thompson on the run down to Turn 3. Thompson defended, but driving on the wet line allowed Toivonen to try and come back at Thompson and switch back through Turn 4. Still however in the trying conditions, Thompson was able to keep the Finnish driver at bay.
Yet despite Thompson's best efforts, he became one of many drivers to slip and slide through the middle sector, this time however it allowed Otso Toivonen to finally get up the inside and into the points. Despite Thompson losing out. his pain became short lived as yellow flags appeared as a car grounded to a hault.
It was Ellenor Haugland. The team telling her to stop on track after she saw smoke coming from the rear of her car. Disaster for the Norwegian as she picked up heer 3rd DNF of the season, through no fault of her own from 4th place, which now belonged to Ostberg again.
Up front though, Rodolfo de la Fuente was relatively unchallenged as he and Perez cruised home on the drying track to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. Zozulya set the fastest lap on his way to 3rd, whilst Ostberg, Alvarez and Ryan completed the top 6. the latter 2 pipping Niklaus Holzberg on the final lap. Full results below.