Pereira hits back to win French feature

Diego Pereira took his first AutoReject 2.0 victory of the season, converting his pole position into a trip to the top step of the podium.

After an initial setback off the line, as Zenaide Voeckler took the early lead, Pereira quickly returned to the front of the back and proceeded to build a large gap over the Driver Performance Laboratory driver.

By the midpoint of the race, Pereira had nearly ten seconds in hand over Voeckler, before the French driver dropped back. Kevin van Kerckhoven emerged in second place for the latter half of the race, and the Belgian immediately started to make rapid progress towards the leader.

Pereira – perhaps electing to save tyres – slowed the pace down and allowed van Kerckoven to catch the Portuguese driver at a rate of over a second a lap. With four laps to go, the Nismo Academy Voeckler driver passed Pereira for the lead, attempting to build a cushion.

However, with plenty more tyre life, Pereira could easily keep van Kerckhoven in his sights and reclaimed the lead at the Adelaide hairpin on the penultimate lap, sending the Belgian off line and into the clutches of Tobias Baumgartlinger.

Baumgartlinger took second at the final corner, following Pereira home to secure his first series podium. Van Kerckhoven had to be content with third, three seconds ahead of fourth-placed Vaclav Malsyz.

James Wilmington – the winner of the previous round’s sprint race – continued his good form with a strong drive to fifth, putting up a strong fight all race to finish ahead of early leader Voeckler.

Producing a combative drive to take seventh, Juliana Ivarsdottir finished ahead of Gunter Masakan who gave DMR its second double-points finish of the year.

Ramon Lorenzo beat Pierre St. Laurent to the line for ninth as the Canadian lost the championship lead after an average display, although he begins from pole in tomorrow’s sprint race.

Michela Martin finished just behind championship rival St. Laurent, as fellow front-runner Josephine Leifeld endured a difficult race to finish 17th.

1Diego PereiraDefinitely Maybe Racing29:44.684
2Tobias BaumgartlingerEcurie Prenois+1.944
3Kevin van KerckhovenNismo Academy Voeckler+2.567
4Vaclav MalsyzQuicktech Engineering+5.498
5James WilmingtonEquipe Fantomette+8.199
6Zenaide VoecklerDriver Performance Laboratory+9.523
7Juliana IvarsdottirICE-3 Melkus Racing+15.142
8Gunter MasakanDefinitely Maybe Racing+18.981
9Ramon LorenzoLotto Racing+21.036
10Pierre St. LaurentDriver Performance Laboratory+22.094