Updated: Jun 25
Written By Juan Arroyo
Théophile Naël secured his second win of the season in Race 1 at Navarra on Saturday afternoon, snatching the championship lead from Pedro Clerot of MP Motorsport.
"The start was really good. I'm lucky because we had new tyres for this race, so they was a bit faster than the others," said Naël confidently after the race, looking forward to Race 2 on Sunday as he would be starting from pole position.
Naël took the lead from pole position on the first lap, overtaking MP's Valerio Rinicella, and maintained a comfortable lead throughout the race. Rinicella struggled to close the gap to the Frenchman, with less than seven tenths of a second separating them.
Noah Strømsted followed closely in third place. The Danish driver initially struggled to match the pace of Naël and Rinicella, but he was able to replicate their lap times by the end of the race, keeping his Campos teammate Christian Ho behind him in fourth.
Matteo de Palo had a disappointing race, finishing in 16th place after being forced to pit on the opening lap. De Palo lost 13 positions as he entered the pits alongside Enzo Deligny and Andrés Cardenas, both of whom retired from the race.
Although he couldn't convert his pole position into a victory, Rinicella claimed the fastest lap bonus in a race that marked MP Motorsport's return to better form after a podium-less round at Aragón.
The Italian driver finished in second place, while his teammates Clerot and Al Azhari battled fiercely for fifth place after a safety car restart with 11 minutes remaining.
Clerot struggled to maintain control of his car but ultimately crossed the finish line ahead of Al Azhari, with their teammate Jerónimo Berrío closing in on the pair.