Adam Maguire has scored his third race win of the GPVWC Superleague season in Baku and extended his championship lead as nearest rival Jannick Bock endured a troubled race.
Qualifying for the Azerbaijan round of the season was held in dry conditions but with the threat of rain looming for the race. Reigning champion Bock took pole position, with Maguire down in fourth place.
But Maguire turned out to be much quicker in race trim than he had been in qualifying as he moved his way up to first place within nine laps.
Once the rain fell minutes later Maguire proved to be unbeatable as he continually extended his lead over the rest of the field.
He had a 22-second margin come the final lap and won comfortably after setting up his car for wet weather, hence the slower-than-expected performance in qualifying.
Bock lost second place to Jernej Simoncic as the Slovenian drafted past the reigning champion down the main straight.
Later Bock crashed at the castle section of the track as he hit the inside wall and then ricocheted between both armco barriers before spinning around 180 degrees.
He dropped to eighth place before pitting to repair damage, which cost him another six positions.
The GPVWC Azerbaijan Grand Prix turned out to be a race of attrition as only 16 of the 24 drivers finished. Notably, Bock’s team-mate Dennis Jordan lost fifth place after shedding his front wing from a collision with the wall.
Later on, Jordan was squeezed into the inside barrier at turn three when trying to overtake Luca D’Amelio for ninth, meaning he needed to pit for another new front wing for a second time during the race.
Alex Cooper inherited fifth from Jordan’s mistake, but he too collided with the barrier and had to pit for a new front wing.
Even with less than 10 laps to go and the track drying up, Daniel Brewer lost third place as he hit the understeered at the flat-out left-hander of turn 13, hit the outside wall and rebounded to the other side of the track, losing his rear wing and both left side wheels in the process.
That crash gave the final podium spot to his team-mate Maciej Mlynek, gifting the Polish driver his first-ever GPVWC podium finish behind Maguire and Simoncic.
Maguire now has a 21-point championship lead over Bock, who ultimately recovered to finish eighth, while Simoncic now trails Bock by only nine points.
Speaking after the race, Maguire said: “I didn’t think I was going to have a good race at all but it all worked out in the first stint.
“We were thinking [in qualifying] it was going to rain so we were making our setup towards rain conditions, so that’s why our top speed was quite low and in qualifying I struggled.
“I felt like my setup was a lot quicker in the race and it was good on traction so I could quite confidently stick behind someone through the traction zones, and I eventually got past the first five in the first few laps.
“I’m in disbelief right now, it’s redemption for Hungary.”
The next round of the GPVWC Superleague season is the Canadian Grand Prix around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which will take place on May 21.