On Friday, Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP) scored his third victory of the season after getting the better of pole winner Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. With the win, the Australian now trails the Frenchman by just two points in the general classification. Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport) took third place for his first podium result in the Formula Renault Eurocup, while Kush Maini (M2 Competition) won the rookie category on the last lap of the race.
Martins by a whisker
After the first qualifying session in mixed conditions yesterday, sunny skies returned Friday morning. The times quickly fell in the first-half of the session just until Alessio Deledda (Global Racing Service) caused a red flag.
Qualifying resumed with six minutes left on the clock, and as the chequers flew Victor Martins snatched the pole from Sebastián Fernández for 0.15s. Behind them it was Oscar Piastri, Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport), Xavier Lloveras (Global Racing Service) and the highest placed rookie, Brad Benavides (FA Racing by Drivex).
Piastri seizes his chance
When the lights went out, Victor Martins put in a perfect start to hold onto the lead, while Sebastián Fernández dropped down to seventh place. Further back, Leonardo Lorandi (JD Motorsport) remained stuck on the grid before he managed to engage first gear. Oscar Piastri also got a clean get away to close up to the back of the Frenchman and then pass him at Combes on the opening lap.
Once in the lead, the Australian and Frenchman pulled away to distance themselves from Lorenzo Colombo and Patrik Pasma (Arden Motorsport), who made the most of the numerous battles in the midfield. Petr Ptáček (Bhaitech Racing) was able to get past Xavier Lloveras, but then both were overtaken by Sebastián Fernández, who was on the charge.
On lap eight, the gaps were reduced to nothing when the car of Callan O’Keeffe (FA Racing by Drivex) had to be removed. The action was back on the boil a lap later and the restart allowed Sebastián Fernández to take fourth place from team mate Patrik Pasma.
Race leader, Oscar Piastri went on for the win ahead of Victor Martins and Sebastián Fernández who overtook Lorenzo Colombo on the final lap. Eleventh on the grid, Kush Maini wrested the Hankook Trophy from the hands of Patrik Pasma in the last corner. Rookies Petr Ptáček and Caio Collet (R-ace GP), finished seventh and eighth, while Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP) and Xavier Lloveras claimed the final points on offer.
Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP): “I wasn’t expecting Sebastián to get a slow start. I was able to take advantage and have a chance to use the draft to take the lead. I was able to get past on the outside and I never looked back. I was beginning to gradually pull away when the safety car came out. Restarts are always tricky, but I was able to keep Victor at bay to go on to take my third win of the season. Tomorrow, I think I can move up the order from eighth on the grid. This is one of the best circuits of the year for overtaking and it is expected to rain. It should be quite a show!”
Victor Martins (MP Motorsport): “The race was complicated. I wasn’t able to hold off Oscar on lap one. I tried to defend my position, but I couldn’t do anything against the slipstream. After that, I wanted to have a good race and pressure Oscar, but I struggled to stay close. I didn’t force anything, because second place is a solid result in terms of the championship. The forecast tomorrow is for rain and I posted the second-best time in similar conditions yesterday in qualifying. I believe I am in a position to score a lot of points again.”
Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport): “On the formation lap, I felt there was a problem with the clutch. I knew it was going to be difficult, so I just tried to do my best. I dropped to seventh place, but I knew I had the pace to get a good result. I had to keep my head down and that is what I did to move up to third place. This is our first podium of the year. I am delighted to see the team progress at each race and I hope we can keep the momentum going.”
Kush Maini (M2 Competition): “I started eleventh, so I knew that I would have to fight to move up the order. I was pretty confident, because I simply didn’t carry over my pace from practice to qualifying. I was able to preserve my tyres in the race while also passing my rivals. This allowed me to be extremely fast on the last lap and I pressured Patrik Pasma into a mistake when he missed his final braking point and I was able to win the rookie category. It is a reinforcing result, because it justifies our potential.”
|1. Victor Martins (MP Motorsport)||137|
|2. Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP)||135|
|3. Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP)||118|
|4. Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport)||109|
|5. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||81|
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications.