Led by Victor Martins and Paul Aron, ART Grand Prix dominated the tests at Spa-Francorchamps. With a lap of 2:15.919s, Victor Martins established a new track record for the Formula Renault Eurocup while Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) and rookie Paul Aron completed the top three.
On Wednesday morning, the competitors had three hours of pre-event testing to find their marks at the home of the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix. In wet conditions, the leader of the general classification Victor Martins posted the best time of 2:33.970s ahead of team mate Paul Aron, Franco Colapinto, Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport) and Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport).
Weather improved in the afternoon and slick tyres were shod for the two and a half hour second session. Paul Aron completed a lap in 2:16.950s, just 0.019s quicker than Alex Quinn and 0.041s faster than Tijmen van der Helm (FA Racing). The trio of rookies were followed by Victor Martins and Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing).
After a ten-minute break, the pace picked up in the first collective test as the track record for the category, held since 2015 by Ben Barnicoat, was beaten. Victor Martins jumped to the top of the timing screen with a lap of 2:15.919s. Franco Colapinto and Paul Aron were next while Lorenzo Colombo and Caio Collet (R-ace GP) completed the top five.
The Hankook rain tyres were called back into service Thursday morning for the final collective test. In these conditions, Victor Martins was the man to bet with a time of 2:34.482s. His team-mate Paul Aron was next, while in the final seconds David Vidales (JD Motorsport) moved up to P3 ahead of Franco Colapinto and Alex Quinn.
The first qualifying session to set the starting grid for the Saturday race will take place this afternoon at 16h25. On Friday, qualifying will begin at 10h40 prior to the first race of the weekend at 14h25.
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Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "We continue to do a good job and show that the car is quicker and quicker since the Nürburgring meeting. We’ve always been in the top two or three since the summer break and this allows us to work calmly and with confidence. Once again, the conditions are going to be tricky and the team and myself will have to manage them as best we can. We just have to do our job this afternoon in the first qualifying session!"
Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport): "Spa is a wonderful track that I really like for its iconic corners and its history. It’s even nicer to be at the front of the field thanks to the excellent work of the team. We have a good car for qualifying and we look stronger in the dry so we will give everything we have to be up front in the race tomorrow and Saturday and I think we have every chance to score a lot of points for the championship!"
Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix): "We have good pace so far. I have been consistently in the top three and I love this track, it’s now my favourite! I have to focus on my job in qualifying, but I believe a place in the top three is possible. I am aiming for a first win by the end of the season, but Victor is very skilled and experienced. Beating this kind of driver is always a challenge, but it is still my goal and I will give my all to achieve it!"
Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport): "It is always great to be at Spa because the track is just phenomenal. I think we have great potential, but we haven’t fully shown it yet. We will have to see what the conditions will be in qualifying, but we have shown good speed in the dry and in the wet. The key will be to have a good strategy, clear laps, avoid traffic and put everything together in terms of driving and set-up to be there at the right time and get the best possible starting position!"