|Today’s 30 lap Feature Race was held under blue skies with an air temperature of 26° and a track temperature of 46°. A number of penalties had been applied following yesterday’s qualifying, as a result of which Nathanaël Berthon moved up to 15th on the grid.
As the lights went off Leimer made a great start to take 5th going into the first corner and began challenging Nasr for 4th. On lap 2 the Racing Engineering car moved ahead of Brazilian to take 4th and was now chasing Gutierrez. By lap 4 Leimer was 2.0 seconds behind Gutierrez and 1.8 seconds ahead of Ericsson.
The young Swiss driver began to lap faster than Gutierrez and on lap 6 he was just one second behind the 3rd placed car and 3.0 seconds ahead of Ericsson. The Racing Engineering car continued to close in on Gutierrez and on lap 9 he was right on the gearbox of the Mexican driver. Lap 9 saw Gutierrez try to pass Van der Garde; the two cars appeared to make contact and in an instant Leimer had passed both of them to take 2nd place.
Debris on the track saw the Safety Car deployed on lap 13 and the Racing Engineering team took advantage to call Leimer in for his mandatory pitstop. Racing resumed on lap 17 with Leimer right behind race leader Calado who was yet to make his pitstop.
No sooner had the race got underway than there was an accident amongst the backmarkers and the Safety Car was back on track again. The safety Car returned to the pits on lap 21 leaving just 9 laps to the finish.
As racing started Gutierrez locked his brakes into the final corner, mounted the kerb and made contact with Leimer causing him to leave the track which cost the Racing Engineering driver three places, dropping him to 5th. Just as Leimer closed in on Razia and was looking for a way past the Safety Car was deployed for the third time as Serenelli spun at the back of the field. Calado made his pitstop promoting Leimer to 4th but the race was now approaching the one hour mark and time was running out.
The Safety Car returned to the pits once again with just 5 minutes racing left which left Leimer with insufficient time to gain any more places.
Berthon made a hesitant start but was still able to move up to 14th place and at the end of lap 1 he was 0.6 seconds behind Chilton and 0.4 seconds ahead of Series leader Valsecchi. Over the next few laps the young Frenchman gradually opened up a gap over the DAMS car and by lap 5 he was 1.3 seconds ahead.
Berthon made his mandatory pit stop on lap 10 resuming the track in 15th position and becoming involved in a very tense battle with the cars from 10th to 16th separated by just four seconds. As the cars ahead made their pitstops the Racing Engineering car was now up to an excellent 8th place and was now chasing Haryanto for 7th.
On lap 18 Berthon gained a place as a car ahead made a pitstop and as the Safety Car returned to the track he was still chasing Haryanto with Chilton behind him in 8th. As the race entered the final laps Berthon moved up to 6th as Calado pitted and he held onto this position at the chequered flag, an excellent result after starting 15th.Tomorrow’s reversed grid for the Sprint Race will see Berthon start 3rd and Leimer 5th giving both men an excellent chance of finishing on the podium.