While Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) dominated the action at Circuit Paul Ricard to take his second win of the year, all eyes were focused on title contenders Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) and Caio Collet (R-ace GP). With a fourth-place finish on Saturday, Victor Martins clinches the title in season fifty of the Formula Renault Eurocup and makes it two titles for his team prior to the final race of the season.
Double winner last year at Le Castellet, Lorenzo Colombo confirmed his affinity for this track in edging both Victor Martins and Caio Collet for the pole with a best lap of 1:59.105s.
Lorenzo Colombo kept Victor Martins behind him at the start while Caio Collet and Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) followed right behind. Starting sixth, Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) got around Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) to slot into fifth place and lead the rookie contingent after a busy opening lap.
While the chase group remained tightly bunched, Lorenzo Colombo began to gradually pull away as Victor Martins and Caio Collet battled it out. With no choice but to win the race to keep his title hopes alive, the Brazilian driver of the Renault Sport Academy efforts paid off when he surprised his rival in the final corner on lap 11.
Alone out front, Lorenzo Colombo maintained his lead in the final laps to take his second straight win ahead of Caio Collet. Third place went to Franco Colapinto, who made his way past Victor Martins two laps from the chequered flag.
Fourth-place points were enough for Victor Martins to sew up the title. The Frenchman was followed by rookie category winner Alex Quinn. Seventh at the line, David Vidales (JD Motorsport) was promoted to sixth place following a post-race investigation by the race stewards. Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix), Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport), Hadrien David and Michael Belov (R-ace GP) completed the top ten, but the Russian lost tenth place to Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) after a ten-second penalty for a false start.
While the Driver and Team titles have been settled, the rookie trophy will be decided tomorrow. This final duel will be Alex Quinn versus David Vidales, with the Englishman holding an eight-point advantage.
The final race of the 50th season in the history of Formula Renault before it becomes next year the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine certified by the FIA will be held Sunday morning at 10h25.
Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing): "I’ve had a lot of success at this track the past two years! Most of the work has been done in qualifying as I put everything together to get pole. From there, I just had to manage my race even though Victor made a great start, but I managed to stay ahead at turn one to control the race. We have to do it again tomorrow. I hope it will be dry, but we will have to keep an eye on the weather!"
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): "I had a great car today, but I didn’t quite manage to maximise our potential in qualifying. We did our best in the race and I made a quite nice overtake on Victor. We’ve had our ups and downs this season, as well as two retirements that were out of our control, but Victor and ART Grand Prix fully deserve their titles. We will now push to finish the season with a win."
Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport): "It was a positive race and we managed to gain a position to get ourselves another podium. I want to thank the team for giving me an extremely competitive car throughout the season, but also for the work they have done to seal our third place in the general classification. Let’s get one last podium together tomorrow! "
Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport): "It was a great result as it concerns the rookie title as we increased our lead over David Vidales. This is now our only goal as Franco is now too far ahead to be caught, so we will give it our all to have a good race tomorrow and finish the job!"
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "The target has been achieved. It was a tough season with a great battle with Caio and R-ace GP. Our work has paid off, both with our serenity in the difficult moments and our ability to seize the opportunities. I want to thank the team for providing me with a car that allowed me to win this title and it is a collective victory. On a personal level, I am very happy with my development. I again learned a lot from situations that I had never faced in my career. I had always made small mistakes at crucial moments that prevented me from achieving anything in single-seaters until now. This title is a big step forward and I hope that this experience will benefit me in the years to come. I know that we can go very far with the people around me, so I am very confident for the future!"
|1. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix)||330|
|2. Caio Collet (R-ace GP)||292|
|3. Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport)||198.5|
|4. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport)||173|
|5. David Vidales (JD Motorsport)||165|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.