In the long-awaited return of the Formula Renault Eurocup to Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the drivers have lowered the category track record in every session held so far. At the conclusion of an incredibly intense qualifying session, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) won the pole position for Sunday’s race with a lap of 1:33.589s to edge out Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and rookie David Vidales (JD Motorsport).
Wednesday afternoon, the competitors discovered or rediscovered Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
Caio Collet was quickest early on with a time of 1:34.505s to lead from Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) and Amaury Cordeel (FA Racing). With seven different teams in the top seven, Victor Martins, David Vidales, Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) and Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) followed the leaders.
The pace continued to accelerate on Thursday, with Victor Martins beating the benchmark time set by Caio Collet with a lap of 1:34.244s. The Brazilian member of the Renault Sport Academy answered back in the final session of the day lowering the mark by three hundredths of a second with a time of 1:34.214s.
Martins makes it three on the bounce
The first qualifying session to determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race was contested Friday.
Like at the Nürburgring, Bhaitech Racing was the first team to send their drivers out. Vicky Piria lead early before László Tóth went quicker. The Hungarian was still P1 before a red flag caused by Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport) just prior to the halfway point in the session but Victor Martins shot to the top of the order when the action resumed.
Caio Collet wasted little time to make it a thrilling duel with several exchanges of the best time. The Brazilian thought he had done enough, but Victor Martins pipped him for the pole on his final run by seven thousands of a second.
Behind the leaders in the general classification, David Vidales and Lorenzo Colombo will line up on row two. Alex Quinn and Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport) will share row three on Sunday, followed by Hadrien David (MP Motorsport), Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix), Petr Ptáček (R-ace GP) and Amaury Cordeel. Tijmen van der Helm (FA Racing) had to sit out the session due to a wrist pain.
Saturday, the drivers will battle at 10h30 in the second qualifying session, which will set the starting grid for the first race of the weekend at 17h20.
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "Qualifying was extremely intense! I made some mistakes, especially in the chicane of sector three on my last lap, but that was enough for me to take pole. The team did a great job to give me a car exactly as I wanted for qualifying. We made good progress compared to the second collective test on Thursday, but we will have to do the same tomorrow... But I hope it will be less intense!"
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): "I am a bit disappointed not to have taken pole position. The car was fantastic, the team did a great job, but I didn’t manage to put it all together. Despite the disappointment, this is another front row and we will work to get the pole tomorrow. As far as the race is concerned, there is a long straight leading to turn five, but it can play both ways so we will see what happens!"
David Vidales (JD Motorsport): "I’m happy with third place, but we still need something more to go for pole. We will work to try to do better tomorrow in qualifying. If I get a good start, I think we have the speed to race at the front and fight for the victory like we did in the previous races. I think this is one of my favourite circuits so far. From the very first lap, I liked it as it has a bit of everything: long straights, big braking zones, chicanes, fast and slow sectors... It’s really interesting!"