Bertrand Baguette has moved into the lead of the World Series by Renault standings after cruising to his first win of the season at Le Mans, while key rivals Marcos Martinez and James Walker failed to score.
Following an indifferent qualifying session that would see start sixth on the grid for the more lucrative 'feature' race, Baguette made the most of his more favourable third position in the reversed sprint race to dive into the lead at the opening turn.
Although he touched wheels with front row sitter Pasquale di Sabatino as they filtered into the tight opening chicane, Baguette emerged in front and was able to control the pace from there on in.
Despite having to persevere with 'bent steering' as a result of the contact with the Italian, Baguette was never troubled throughout the 30 lap race, eventually crossing the line almost five seconds up the road.
Instead, much of the attention focused on the battle for second with Hungaroring winner di Sabatino doing a mighty job of resisting the attentions of Marco Barba, down to third having started on pole position.
Barba eventually made it through on lap 18 when he dived down the inside at the Dunlop chicane, although the Spaniard's hopes of making it a 1-2 for the Draco team were ruined at the end of the race when he was judged to have passed di Sabatino illegally by cutting the chicane. The subsequent ten second penalty dropped him to fifth.
As such, di Sabatino took his second podium finish of the season for the RC Motorsport team, still running just a single car for him, while Oliver Turvey finished a strong third for Carlin after battling his way up from sixth on the grid and capitalising on a late error from team-mate Jaime Alguersuari to inherit the podium.
The Spaniard was left to finish fourth in a result that nonetheless strengthens Carlin's position in the team standings, while the penalised Barba was classified fifth.
Beyond the leaders, Jon Lancaster provided much of the entertainment in the race as he battled his way through the field from 12th on the grid. The British driver, who starts from pole position for the feature race, was starting four places lower than his original position by virtue of a penalty from Silverstone, but made good progress around the tight French circuit to get as high as seventh.