MRF Challenge: Van Kalmthout dominates to claim maiden win in Race 3 at Bahrain
The Dutchman finally had a trouble-free race to take his first win.
With the second fastest time from qualifying, Rinus van Kalmthout started on pole in Race 3 of the 2017/18 MRF Challenge series at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday.
The Dutchman had a perfect start to remain in the lead, being followed by Brazil's Felipe Drugovich, as Frenchman Julien Falchero cleared Poland's Alex Karkosik for third.
Behind, Singapore's Pavan Ravishankar lost ground to drop to 10th in the opening lap, while Venezuelan Manuel Maldonado's jump start meant he was awarded with a drive-through penalty.
This allowed Indonesia's Presley Martono to move up to fifth position from eighth on the grid, having cleared Australia's Dylan Young in the process.
Meanwhile, at the front, van Kalmthout had built a huge margin between himself and the fighting duo of Drugovich and Falchero - to win his first MRF Challenge race by 7.784s.
The back and forth tussle between the Brazilian and the Frenchman was settled on the line, with Drugovich just managing to keep his nose ahead by a mere 0.046s.
Karkosik was a lonely fourth, with Martono in fifth - the Indonesian managed to claw back the gap to the Polish driver, but was left with no laps in the end.
Series veteran Young collected another sound result in sixth, as Ravishankar recovered from an average start to finish seventh, fending off Swede Henning Enqvist in the end by 0.205s.
Enqvist, meanwhile, had Singapore's Danial Frost on his tail, while Australia's Harri Jones rounded off the Top 10 - putting on a better show after two troubled races on Saturday.
The battle for the rest of the positions saw Malaysia's Nazim Azman in 11th leading Belgian's Michelangelo Amendola and America's Robert Megennis - both having survived off-moments early in the race.
After serving his penalty, Maldonado finished in 15th behind Australia's Kurt Hill, with German Richard Wagner ending up 16th, ahead of another spinner Perdana Putra Minang and Christopher Mariot.