After establishing a new record in the Formula Renault Eurocup single-spec era with a tenth pole position in a single season, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) won the curtain raiser for the Formula 1 Emirates Emilia Romagna Grand Prix ahead of Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) and Renault Sport Academy rookie Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) to pull away in the race for the title.
A compact schedule left no room for error for the drivers this Sunday morning with qualifying at 8h55 just barely an hour prior to the race.
Victor Martins was once again the driver to beat in qualifying. The Frenchman set the track record for the category with a lap of 1:40.008s to line-up ahead of Caio Collet, Franco Colapinto and rookies Hadrien David and David Vidales (JD Motorsport).
At the start, Victor Martins was challenged by Caio Collet, who several times placed himself alongside without finding a way past in a great duel that came to an end after just 12 corners. Fourth place David Vidales failed in his attempt to pass Franco Colapinto, hit the right rear of the Argentinian’s car, lost control of his and hit Caio Collet at the Variante Alta.
Following the intervention of the safety car for the removal of the damaged Formula Renault of Caio Collet, Victor Martins held on to the lead from Franco Colapinto and Hadrien David at the restart.
While the gap between Victor Martins and Franco Colapinto never exceeded two seconds, the duo steadily pulled away from Hadrien David. At the same time, Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) was the driver to watch in the field as he overtook Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) then Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport).
Victor Martins went on for a comfortable win ahead of Franco Colapinto and Hadrien David, who made his first trip to the podium in the Formula Renault Eurocup and bagged his second Hankook Trophy. The Renault Sport Academy driver was followed by Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport), who made an outstanding overtake move on his team-mate Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorport) on lap 15.
Threatened for most of the race, Petr Ptáček (MP Motorsport) fended off the attacks from Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) to finish sixth. Paul Aron moved up four places to cross the line in eighth place while William Alatalo (JD Motorsport) and Michael Belov (R-ace GP) also got the better of Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) to complete the top ten.
In the general classification, Victor Martins has a 33-point lead from Caio Collet while Franco Colapinto is now third overall. The battle among the rookies is intensifying as David Vidales sees his advantage over Alex Quinn reduced to seven points.
The final sprint continues this coming Friday when the competitors will begin the penultimate meeting of the season at Hockenheim (November 6-8).
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "Something went wrong yesterday but we had to stay focused as we knew we had the potential to take pole position and win. We continued to work hard and calmly, like we have been done since the start of the season. It is still too early to think about the title. I think the best thing is to stay focused on each qualifying session. Pole position allows us to avoid small incidents in the field and to manage the races in order to score big points. The main target remains to win every race until the end of the year."
Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport): "I am happy with this weekend, much more so than after our first visit to Imola this summer. We have made a lot of progress with the team and I had a great car as our fastest lap in the race today shows. It’s extremely positive and I have moved up a position in the general classification. Let’s continue like this for the next two weeks in Hockenheim and Paul Ricard!"
Hadrien David (MP Motorsport): "This first podium feels good in this quite difficult season. It’s all the more important as we were the support race of the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend. I hope that we will keep this momentum going for the last two meetings. We have made a lot of progress since the beginning of the year as I qualified 16th and 18th at Imola in July, but fourth and seventh this week. Hopefully we can keep going like this just until the end of the season."
|1. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix)||282|
|2. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||249|
|3. Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport)||156.5|
|4. David Vidales (JD Motorsport)||143|
|5. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport)||136|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.