Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport) scored his first victory in the Formula Renault Eurocup on Saturday. Starting from pole position at Circuit Paul Ricard, the Italian dominated race one of the weekend to seal the win ahead of Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP) and Renault Sport Academy driver Victor Martins (MP Motorsport). Caio Collet (R-ace GP) finished fifth and won his third Hankook Trophy for being the highest finishing rookie.
Second pole of the year for Colombo
For the first time this season, the drivers only had 20 minutes to qualify. Like the previous day in the collective tests, Lorenzo Colombo and Oscar Piastri battled for best time. With five minutes remaining, the Italian took his fourth career pole in the category with a fastest lap of 1:59.446s.
Lorenzo Colombo shared row one with Oscar Piastri. Victor Martins and Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP), who shared the spoils in Monaco, filled out row two ahead of a trio of rookies led by Caio Collet.
When the lights went out, Lorenzo Colombo held on to the lead despite pressure from Oscar Piastri heading to turn one. Behind them, Victor Martins, Alexander Smolyar and Caio Collet battled, but there was no change of position before the safety car was called into service to recover the cars of Amaury Cordeel (MP Motorsport) and Petr Ptáček (Bhaitech Racing) following their spectacular incident.
The race resumed at the end of lap three. Lorenzo Colombo got a perfect restart to pull away from the field, led by Oscar Piastri and animated by Kush Maini (M2 Competition). After picking up two places at the start, the Indian driver continued his charge through the field in overtaking João Vieira (JD Motorsport) then Ugo de Wilde (JD Motorsport) to slot into sixth place.
Race leader Lorenzo Colombo strung together a series of lap records - more than three seconds faster than the former reference time set last year by Yifei Ye – to widen the gap and claim his first success in the Formula Renault Eurocup five seconds ahead of Oscar Piastri, who was closely followed by Victor Martins.
Alexander Smolyar was fourth, ahead of rookies Caio Collet, Kush Maini, Ugo de Wilde and João Vieira, who fended off the attacks coming from Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport) just until the finish, while Frank Bird (Arden Motorsport) did the same to Callan O’Keeffe (FA Racing by Drivex) to pick up the final point on offer.
Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport): “It was a perfect day. The car has been fast since the collective tests and along with the team we have been able to make further progress. We had to do the job in qualifying and I managed to take the pole. I had to first hold off Oscar at the start, but I never stopped pushing as soon as I could get the most out of my tyres after the safety car. I felt confident and I hope we can do the same tomorrow. After giving points away to my rivals since the start of the season, I think I should be a but higher in the general classification, but I should soon find a position more in line with my ambitions if everything goes as well as it did today!”
Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP): “At the start, maybe I should have stayed to the right instead of moving to the left, but honestly I don’t think I could’ve kept Lorenzo behind me if I had passed him. Our current pace is good, but we need to find more tomorrow as we are a little bit behind MP Motorsport, especially late in the race. That is to say, today’s result isn’t bad for the championship because the title will be all about consistency.”
Victor Martins (MP Motorsport): “Everyone wants to win all the races, but sometimes you have to settle for a big-points result as the aim is to be consistent throughout the season. That was the case today and we did that while improving the car with Lorenzo. We need to continue like this to get the team as high as possible and I’m happy to see the positive dynamic among us translate into solid results on the track."
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): “This is my third rookie win, but I was only fifth overall so it isn’t that great of a result. Today, we were down off the pace in the race. The difference with MP Motorsport isn’t that much early in the race, but It is quite big in the final laps and we need to understand why in order to come back stronger tomorrow.”
|1. Victor Martins (MP Motorsport)||104|
|2. Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP)||102|
|3. Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP)||98|
|4. Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport)||72|
|5. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||65|
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.