He took advantage of a strategic mis-step by Timo Glock and the ISport team. Glock led the race from pole position but chose not to make his compulsory pit stop early following a safety car period.
A series of incidents on the first lap required the intervention of the safety car. Karun Chandhok spun across the entire field on the straight after choosing to drive on the grass after the start.
Then another crash at turn one eliminated Giorgio Pantano, Luca Filippi, Mike Conway and Alexadre Negrao.
Glock stayed out until lap 27 and was third when he came out. He quickly caught and passed Lucas di Grassi for second.
Rolden Rodriguez was fourth ahead of Borja Garcia and Mikhail Aleshin, the latter making his GP2 debut in place of the injured Michael Ammermuller. Racing Engineering duo Sergio Jiminez and Javier Villa were seventh and eighth and will form the front row for the sprint race.