Fabio Carbone led from lights to flag in the second race of the World Series by Renault weekend at the Hungaroring, claiming a first victory for both himself and the Ultimate-Signature team and climbing to third place in the championship.
Carbone made the most of his pole position and took the early lead ahead of Miguel Molina, with Julien Jousse slotting into third ahead of race one winner Giedo van der Garde and Robert Wickens. The Brazilian's progress, however, was stunted by the appearance of the safety car after Marcos Martinez, Guillaume Moreau and Pippa Mann failed to complete the first lap. Daniil Move, who was also involved, pitted to change his nose.
When the action resumed, Carbone retained his lead, but the order was reshuffled as early as lap five when van der Garde, Wickens and Barba made their mandatory pit-stop and, when Jousse followed suit on the next lap, Carbone led Molina, Bertrand Baguette and Marco Barba.
The leader waited until lap twelve to make his stop, but managed to rejoin just ahead of Jousse. Molina, meanwhile, waited longer, the last to make his stop, but his team had miscalculated and the Spaniard found himself returning to the fray in third spot, while van der Garde and Baguette made up the provisional top five. Wickens, meanwhile, was dropping back, having rejoined in eighth, as he was passed in quick succession by Alexandre Marsoin and Charles Pic. On form, Marsoin closed on the Barba brothers, Alvaro ahead of Marco, in the fight for sixth place, and was promoted a further spot when Marco made a mistake.
While the top three continued untroubled at the front, van der Garde made a rare mistake, crashing out of fourth and promoting Baguette, Barba and Marsoin. Marco Barba held on to seventh as Wickens retook Pic for eighth. James Walker completed the top ten.
For Carbone, victory quickly superseded pole as the highlight of his season to date, and continued Ultimate's recent record of success following its maiden F3 triumphs with the Mygale chassis in Britain.
"We have struggled since the start of the season, but this weekend has been perfect," the Brazilian commented, "Everyone's done a great job, and I'm certain that we can continue this run and fight for the title. The season is far from over!"
Jousse claimed his second runners-up spot of the weekend, having chased van der Garde to the line on Saturday, but admitted that he had been hoping for more.
"I'm a little disappointed not to have won, because it was within reach this weekend," the Frenchman, now securely second in the championship, sighed, "We lost some time during the pit-stop, but this is still a good result in terms of the standings."
Molina was altogether more upbeat, despite having run second early on, seeing third place as a potential turning point for the Prema team.
"This podium finish is very important to me," the Spaniard admitted, "I put pressure on Carbone, but he was too quick and, after that, I held it together till the finish. I'm hoping that my season really got started today!"