Daniel Ricciardo has taken his maiden win in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series after securing victory in the opening round of the year at Oulton Park.

The Carlin ace took full advantage of a penalty handed to Max Chilton to take victory ahead of Nick Tandy, with Walter Grubmuller rounding out the podium.

The race itself started in bizarre fashion, with pole-sitter Chilton making a monumental error as he clearly jumped the start - seeming to go when the red lights came on instead of when they went out.

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Although he did slow to allow the field to catch up, there was little surprise when the timing screens flashed up a ten second penalty, which was soon amended to a minute to drop the Carlin driver to the back of the field despite his position running at the front.

That handed the race lead to team-mate Ricciardo with Daisuke Nakajima behind, but the Japanese racer was under pressure from Tandy who put the JTR Mygale into second place on lap four and was quickly followed by Hitech's Grubmuller.

Tandy then set about closing the gap to Ricciardo and a series of quick laps saw him close the gap to the Volkswagen-powered Dallara as the leading pair started to pull away from Grubmuller behind.

Elsewhere in the top ten, positions were remaining static, with Nakajima in fourth ahead of Riki Christodoulou and Adriano Buzaid, who had got the edge over team-mate Wayne Boyd, while Hywel Lloyd and Oli Oakes were close behind. In the National Class, Daniel McKenzie was comfortably clear of Gabriel Dias, with Max Snegirev well down after briefly stopping on the track and Victor Correa pulling into the pits to retire the Litespeed SLC after going off the circuit.

On the 16th lap, Ricciardo finally passed Chilton on the road, with Tandy following him through shortly afterwards to leave him with a clear run at the leader - although the Australian had managed to extend his advantage to more than a second.

Despite Tandy's early pressure, he proved unable to bring the gap down under the closing laps, with Ricciardo securing a debut win both for himself and the Volkswagen engine, with Tandy following him home 2.459secs behind in second place.

"It was a difficult race, even though there was no overtaking," Ricciardo said. "Nick was strong and I struggled to hold him behind for a while, but as the race went on I got into a rhythm and was able to build a small gap which made it easier. I knew Max had the penalty to take, but just focused on my own race."

Behind the top two, Grubmuller took a lonely third ahead of Nakajima who managed to hold off the challenge of Christodoulou for fourth. Buzaid was sixth from T-Sport partner Boyd, with Lloyd, Oakes and Victor Garcia rounding out the top ten.

Both Henry Arundel and Carlos Huertas saw their hopes disappear when they stalled at the start and would eventually trail in down in twelfth and 14th place.

In the National Class, McKenzie took a comfortable win in eleventh place overall, well clear of Dias and Snegirev.

"It was a bit manic at the start with the cars stalling on the grid," McKenzie said. "I just stayed out of trouble and kept pushing. It was a good race."