Starting from pole position at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) claimed his third win of the season to close the gap to the leader in the general classification, Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP). The French driver was followed to the flag by Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP) and Alex Quinn, who inherited third place and rookie win after the penalty given to Petr Ptáček (Bhaitech Racing).
Fourth pole for Martins
Saturday morning went the way of Victor Martins and Oscar Piastri, who used their respective final runs to lock Alexander Smolyar out of row one.
With a lap of 1:42.447s, the Renault Sport Academy driver led from the leader in the general classification by 0.010s. Alexander Smolyar slotted in third ahead of a quartet of rookies composed of Petr Ptáček, Alex Quinn, Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and Leonardo Lorandi (JD Motorsport).
Martins gets the job done
When the lights went green, Victor Martins held on to the lead ahead of Alexander Smolyar while Oscar Piastri spun following contact with Petr Ptáček. The Australian re-joined the race in 17th position, just ahead of Frank Bird (Arden Motorsport), who stalled at the start.
Victor Martins steadily pulled away from Alexander Smolyar, who did the same to Petr Ptáček, who was under threat from Alex Quinn and Caio Collet. Further back, Oscar Piastri who returned to the top ten on lap 11.
The lead of Victor Martins increased further when Alexander Smolyar committed an error on lap 15. Four laps later, the French driver took his third success of the year with a six-second margin of victory from Alexander Smolyar. Petr Ptáček held off those behind, but the Czech driver was penalised 15 seconds post-race for his contact with Oscar Piastri at the first corner of the first lap. Alex Quinn moved up to third place ahead of Caio Collet.
Oscar Piastri concluded his march through the field overtaking Patrik Pasma (Arden Motorsport) and Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport) on the same lap to finish fifth ahead of Petr Ptáček after the enforcement of his penalty. Lorenzo Colombo, Patrik Pasma, Ugo de Wilde (JD Motorsport) and Leonardo Lorandi (JD Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Victor Martins (MP Motorsport): “The target this afternoon was to get a good start, because we knew that we had the pace to convert our pole position into victory. That is exactly what we did by keeping a cool head at turn one. We were able to look after the tyres throughout the race to get this result that is great for the general classification as the end of the season nears. Barcelona is my second favourite circuit, I set the category track record last year and took my second pole here in two years this morning. The goal will be to do it again tomorrow!”
Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP): “I got off the line strong to run alongside Oscar at turn one. I don’t exactly know what happened, because he wasn’t there anymore when I looked in my mirrors. I quickly realized that it would be hard to chase down Victor considering the speed of the MP Motorsport cars this weekend. I did my best and we had the same pace at half-distance before I put a wheel in the grass and went straight. Fortunately, there was no one behind me and I was able to secure second place. I took some points out of Oscar. As the season nears its end, the gaps are smaller between us and the more we risk making mistakes!”
Petr Ptáček (Bhaitech Racing): “To be honest I didn’t expect such a start. I entered turn one right behind Oscar and I didn’t feel any contact…Or maybe the slightest contact in my life! We had already made contact on the straight, but it wasn’t my intention to send him into a spin. The rest of the race was pretty clean. I would have gladly taken this third place, but we need to find something to do even better tomorrow!”
Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport): "I’m really happy with how the race went. I made a good start, stayed out of trouble in the first corner and I felt like we had a really good pace for the whole race. I felt I was kind of held up by the car in front and we could have been quicker and got past but couldn’t quite make it work. I’m still extremely happy to pick up P3 and a rookie win. Tomorrow, I want to go out and show them what I can do once again and hopefully pick up another podium to thank Arden for the opportunity and the car they provided me today."
|1. Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP)||230|
|2. Victor Martins (MP Motorsport)||209.5|
|3. Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP)||198|
|4. Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport)||161.5|
|5. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||150|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.