Thanks to a fantastic start from the third spot on the grid, Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) won a rain-affected race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The Argentinian was followed by Formula Renault Eurocup leader Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) while Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport) finished third at his home round ahead of his team-mate, rookie Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport).
Friday began with the a strong showing from Victor Martins in qualifying. First to head out on a wet track, the French driver won the pole position with a lap of 2:35.820s ahead of Ugo de Wilde and Franco Colapinto.
The Frenchman took his ninth pole of the season to equal the record held by Scott Speed (2004), Sacha Fenestraz (2017) and himself (2019) while his main title rival Caio Collet (R-ace GP) qualified 11th.
Everyone made their way to the grid on the Hankook rain tyres. Franco Colapinto nailed the start to jump into the lead from P3 before turn one while the battle for second place among Victor Martins, Ugo de Wilde and Alex Quinn at the bottom of the Raidillon was won by the leader of the general classification. Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) was the lone victim at the start, when he suffered suspension damage following contact with team-mate Grégoire Saucy.
Franco Colapinto and Victor Martins quickly pulled away from Ugo de Wilde and the rest of the field. The gaps were then erased when the safety car was called into service on lap five to allow for the removal of the damaged car of Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport) at the start of the Kemmel straight.
The showers increased in intensity during the neutralisation and the race direction waved the red flag before definitively stopping the race.
The official classification was based on the order at the end of lap four. Franco Colapinto took his second victory of the season, on the track where he made his Formula Renault Eurocup debut last year, ahead of Victor Martins and local hero Ugo de Wilde.
Fourth overall, Alex Quinn won his second Hankook Trophy ahead of wild-card entry and Spanish F4 Championship leader Kas Haverkort (MP Motorsport) and Belgium’s Amaury Cordeel (FA Racing). After picking up four positions at the start, Caio Collet finished seventh followed by fellow Renault Sport Academy driver Hadrien David (MP Motorsport). William Alatalo (JD Motorsport), David Vidales (JD Motorsport) and Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) scored the remaining points on offer.
With half-points being awarded, Victor Martins now has a 21-point lead from Caio Collet. The top eight drivers in the general classification are still in contention for the title prior to race two at Spa-Francorchamps, scheduled for tomorrow at 10h45.
Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport): “I got a great start, but the showers were really heavy and the conditions were trickier and trickier with standing water and several aquaplaning areas. I have to thank the team for giving me such a fast car and I will aim to do the same tomorrow starting from the front row!"
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "I spun the wheels like never before at the start, but I tried to adapt myself to the situation to hold on to second place. After that, I did everything I could to stay close to Franco Colapinto, but I couldn’t see anything even though I think I was faster than him. I didn’t want to make any mistake to secure these points and now we have to focus on tomorrow, where I will start on pole on a track that should remain dry."
Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport): "I was hoping for the win, but I think we can be happy with this result considering the race. I have been very unlucky at Spa in the past, so this podium confirms the momentum we’ve been building at Barcelona. Everybody has kept working, nobody gave up despite a disappointing first half of the season. We have had a lot of meetings to analyse what happened and it is really starting to get better both in the dry and in the rain. Our work is paying off and I am happy about that, especially at my home track. Tomorrow, we will aim for another podium from fifth place on the grid."
Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport): "It was a tough race. I got a pretty good start compared to the drivers around me. I was kind of alongside to Ugo and Victor, but I had to back off to avoid any incident. It was a bit of a missed opportunity. I think we had very good pace, but the conditions were really tricky. The red flag was probably the best decision even though I wanted to challenge for third place!"
|1. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix)||235|
|2. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||214|
|3. David Vidales (JD Motorsport)||143|
|4. Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport)||126.5|
|5. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport)||81|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.