Once Trummer pitted at the end of lap 27 and Ericsson was finally able to reclaim the lead of the race, he had more than four seconds on Calado and Frijns while Coletti had successfully worked his way up to fourth place. Richelmi and Leimer had also managed to pass the waning Nasr who was running ahead of Jon Lancaster in the Hilmer Motorsport #23, the Briton having pulled off a smooth pass for position down the inside of Dillmann. Despite holding the provisional pole for the sprint race under revere grid rules, Lancaster didn't hesitate to also jump Nasr for seventh spot; Nasr then immediately dropped another spot to Dillmann in turn, and it was the Frenchman left holding the Sunday race pole when the music stopped.
Nasr wasn't the only driver complaining about his tyres being totally shot: Calado was clinging onto second for dear life, and Frijns was under severe pressure from Coletti for the final podium position which he did everything he could to thwart. In the closing corners Coletti went for broke and the two collided in the penultimate left-hander - not enough to spin either car but it did break Frijn's last vestiges of momentum. Coletti was released to the podium spot while Frijns tried to hold fourth place only to clash with Stephane Richelmi through the apex of the final corner, which served to open a window of opportunity for Fabio Leimer to pounce on them both and snatch the position by a whisker at the line.
There was no question about Ericsson's win - finally a strong result for the Swede, whose results so far this season have been so dire that he must have feared that his 2013 campaign must have been cursed. Despite having pronounced his tyres shot, Calado held on to second spot thanks to the battle over third place holding up the rest of the field to the line.
At the back of the field, Barwa Addax's Jake Rosenzweig had an eventful race of it, penalised early in the race for speeding in pit lane and then placed under investigation for an incident with Nathanael Berton which saw the Trident driver spin on lap 5. Julian Leal was handed a mid-race penalty for exceeding track limits, while a number of other cars including Bird, Sergio Canamasas (Caterham) and Rio Haryanto (Barwa Addax) were announced as being under post-race investigation for overtaking under the safety car at the start of the race.
Another of the drivers cited for that latter investigation was Stefano Coletti, meaning that even as the podium celebrations got underway the championship leader had to have half a mind on what was to come in the race stewards office, which may prove to have a significant effect on the 2013 GP2 Series championship battle going into Sunday morning's sprint race.
Full race results are available