Formula Renault Eurocup leader ahead of the final meeting of the season, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) came out on top in a three-way battle with title rival Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) to set a new track record for the category with a time of 1:59.097s in the collective tests.
The competitors began their preparations for the tenth and final stop on the calendar with four hours of testing Thursday at Circuit Paul Ricard. The pace progressively accelerated with Lorenzo Colombo and Victor Martins finishing on top and all square with a time of 1:59.451s, just 0.017s quicker than Caio Collet.
The three drivers continued their battle on Friday morning as they swapped the top spot several times in a session marked by a red flag stoppage caused by the technical issue suffered by Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport). Winner of both races last year at Le Castellet, Lorenzo Colombo had the final say with a lap of 1:59.251s ahead of his two rivals while Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) and Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) completed the top five.
In the last session of the day, Victor Martins and Caio Collet immediately jumped to the top of the order. After leading for the majority of the session, the Brazilian ceded to the Frenchman, who broke the category track record with a time of 1:59.097s. Victor Martins led the way ahead of Caio Collet, Lorenzo Colombo and rookies David Vidales (JD Motorsport) and Hadrien David.
Qualifying to determine the starting grid for the Sunday race will begin this afternoon at 16h05. Tomorrow, qualifying will begin at 9h40 for the first race of the weekend at 15h15.
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "It’s a pretty positive day. We have improved what we wanted as we had some work to do after Thursday’s practice. We are heading in the right direction. We are confident and know what we are capable of. I have been chased in the past few races, but we are not going to give up until It’s all over. We have our sights set on two poles and two wins this weekend!"
Caio Collet (R-ace GP) : "Even though it looks very difficult and our fate is no longer in our hands, nothing is impossible. My only goal must be to do the best possible job by winning the two races this weekend. Victor, Lorenzo and I seem to be quite fast so far and it is a good thing to see Lorenzo at the front. The more people in front, the more things can happen, but first we will have to confirm in qualifying!"
Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing): "We are off to a strong start to the weekend, but I expected us to be fast on this track. We have made good progress on the car and the results show it. We have to do a perfect job in qualifying because there are three of us in the same tenth of a second. The driver who puts everything together will be on pole and hopefully it will be me... We’ll also have to keep an eye on the sky because the weather forecast looks rather tricky with a chance of drizzle!"
Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) : "This is the first time this season that we are consistently in the top five in practice. It’s always hard to succeed in a new category, but I think we have taken a good step forward since Zandvoort. This has allowed me to push my limits and to be more comfortable in the car, which is why it will be important to confirm my progress in this final round. I have good memories of Le Castellet where I won the French F4 Championship to become the youngest FIA F4 champion in history, so let’s create some more this year!"