Marino Sato tops all-Motopark podium in Euroformula Open opener at Spa
Marino Sato has taken a dominant victory in the first Euroformula Open race at Spa-Francorchamps, leading teammates Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson to an all-Motopark podium.
Japanese driver Marino Sato started from pole alongside countryman Yuki Tsunoda, with Australian Jack Doohan in third and Austrian Lukas Dunner in fourth.
Sato led confidently off the start but Lawson was the star of the first lap, completing the circuit in fourth after starting down in eighth.
Sato and Tsunoda pulled away from the chasing peleton, as a growing train emerged connecting drivers from third to eleventh. At the head of the queue was Christian Hahn, under pressure from Red Bull juniors Lawson and Doohan in the battle for third.
Lawson ultimately bested Hahn, and was unleashed on the leaders, pulling away with a 4 second gap to Tsunoda ahead, and Doohan soon followed, passing Hahn for fourth. As the order settled in on lap three, it was Sato then Tsunoda, separated by just 1 second, then Lawson consistently 4-5 seconds behind.
The order was unchanged by half-distance at lap 6, as Sato set consecutive fastest laps.
The highest battle in the race order was Teppei Natori defending against Julian Hanses in the fight for sixth. Natori locked up into Turn 1 and Hanses wasted no time in diving down the inside. The two went two-wide down the Kemmel straight, with Hanses holding his new position despite a wobble under brakes. Javier Gonzalez chased down the recovering Natori for seventh, stealing the position into the bus stop chicane, but the battle was not over as the pair continued to spar over the following laps.
Rui Andrade brought some excitment as he spun from sixteenth and rejoined the race, while Guilherme Samaia, Linus Lundqvist and Billy Monger battled for ninth in a close contest along Kemmel straight. After a two lap battle, Monger was into P10 for the final points paying position.
Julian Hanses, uncorked after overtaking Natori, caught Christian Hahn for fifth with two laps to go.
At the front, Sato was unbeatable, taking the chequered flag by 2.974s over teammate Yuki Tsunoda. Kiwi Liam Lawson completed the podium, with Australian Jack Doohan in fourth. Sato extended his championship lead, while Lawson narrowly holds second in the series ahead of Tsunoda.
Australian Calan Williams finished P12.
Euroformula Open - Race 1 @ Spa-Francorchamps
Yuki Tsunoda +2.974s
Liam Lawson (NZ) +6.384s
Jack Doohan (AUS) +9.655s
Julian Hanses +12.742s
Christian Hahn +17.645s
Javier Gonzalez +23.218s
Teppei Natori +24.955s
Linus Lundqvist +25.459s
Billy Monger +25.659s
Guilherme Samaia +30.742s
Calan Williams (AUS) 40.709s
Pierre Louis Chovet +47.773s
Aldo Festante +52.128s
Franco Colapinto +55.044s
Stefano Leaney +56.157s
Rui Andrade +1:16.834
Stuart Wiltshire +1:32.713
Cameron Das +1:52.831
Nicolai Kjaergaard +2 laps
Lukas Dunner DNF