With the top-eight finishers reversed for the feature race, defending champion Pinto would start on pole position alongside Benecke – who’s had quite an average season in PESC thus far despite his success in ESL R1. After a largely clean start for the front three rows, Caruso made a bold pass on Bak into turn one – even using the pit-lane exit – to climb into fourth, but having survived the first turn the mayhem soon unfolded.
Job became the first high-profile casualty of the race as, running three-wide with Harth and Sam Kuitert, he was tipped into a spin across the infield. The car was undamaged though, and he was able to resume in 29th place. Danish rookie Bak was the next to fall. Following a quiet mid-race spell, Sanchez outmuscled Bak into turn one, but rather hung him out to dry on the outside. Squirrelling back across the track, Harth rear-ended the Fyra driver, before an unsighted Gustavo Ariel hit him broadside and retired both cars on the spot. That helped the front four break away a little, with close to a second from Caruso back to Sanchez after the squabble, but as the laps ticked away Caruso clearly wanted more.
Catching Jamie Fluke unawares, Caruso snatched third at turn 11 and began to chase down Benecke. It took just over a lap and a half before he took that spot too, with a classic turn one overtake, but just one lap later Benecke was facing the wrong way as Fluke attempted a similar pass only to tag the Mouz car’s rear and spin him. That also allowed Sanchez to pass the British driver and climb up onto the podium.
It all soon came alive at the front as Caruso had been taking chunks out of Pinto’s lead, with the defending champion forced to weave on the straights to hold off the Australian. Caruso though made the pass for the lead into turn 11, only to see Pinto latch onto his rear and robustly recapture the spot through turn 12.
That set up a thrilling final lap which saw the lead change twice more, as Pinto locked up into turn 11 and let Caruso past before sending the same move into turn 12. With a determined defence over the final eight corner, Pinto held on for what’s remarkably his first ever feature race victory. All of that was enough to move Caruso to the head of the championship from Charlie Collins – who managed to claim fifth in the feature race. Pinto sits third overall, just clear of Job after a remarkable recover drive to 14th for the 2020 champion.
Round 4 Feature Race Results
1. Diogo Pinto (Team Redline) - 16 laps
2. Jordan Caruso (Altus Esports) - +0.177s
3. Alejandro Sanchez (ART Stormforce) - +1.066s