Jules Bianchi has taken his maiden Formula 3 Euroseries victory in style after a dominant performance at Le Mans as team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was crowned the 2008 Champion.

Although the rookie Frenchman has two pole positions, five podiums and even the Formula 3 Masters at Zolder title to his name, this is the first time he has stood on top of the rostrum.

Hulkenberg, meanwhile, sealed the title with three races in advance, despite finishing a lap down in 24th when he stalled at the start of the race. However, with Edoardo Mortara unable to take advantage in tenth, the German's 24 point gap is enough for him to steal the crown.

Having claimed pole position by a comfortable margin in qualifying, Bianchi stayed calm at the start to power into the lead immediately from fellow front row sitter Stefan Coletti. Sam Bird followed in third when Hulkenberg made his faux pas and dropped a lap behind.

Third became second for Bird on lap three when Coletti threw away the chances of a breakthrough result with a spin down to the back of the field.

However, the Brit could do nothing about Bianchi, who was setting a searing pace at the front of the field, the 19-year-old eventually crossing the line almost 18 seconds up on Bird. Still, second place for Bird marks his second consecutive podium and moves him up to 11th in the standings.

Mika Maki finished third to move ahead of Renger van der Zande and Christian Vietoris in the standings. His cause was aided when van der Zande finished down in 19th and Vietoris' failed to finish. The German was running fifth when a mechanical problem stopped him five laps from home.

Koudai Tsukakoshi's rollercoaster season hit another high with a fourth place finish for Manor Motorsport, while Jean-Karl Vernay rounded out the top five after sustaining intense pressure from Dani Clos, the Spaniard recovering from a poor start.

A solid race for the Signature-Plus team, Vernay was also joined in the points by team-mates Franck Mailleux and Robert Wickens in seventh and eighth. They will form the front row of the grid tomorrow.

However, at the same time, there was disappointment for the French team as Mortara couldn't keep the title fight alive heading into the second race. The Italian had been the revelation early this season, but a dismal run recently, one that has seen him score just eight points in the last nine races, put paid to that.

He is under pressure from Bianchi now, who rockets up to third from sixth in the standings and is just eight points behind.

Hulkenberg's title success signals ART's (formerly ASM) fifth title in the six years the Euroseries has existed. The role call for the French team includes Jamie Green, Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean.



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