Thanks to an excellent start from third place on the grid, Renault Sport Academy driver Caio Collet (R-ace GP) wins in front of motor racing’s elite at Imola. The Brazilian driver was followed by rookie Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) and pole winner Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) to close the gap to eight points from the Formula Renault Eurocup leader, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix), who was fifth today.
At 8h10 this morning, the Formula Renault Eurocup was first on track to kick-off the Formula 1 Emirates Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend. After early domination from the ART Grand Prix trio of drivers just until the red flag caused by Abbi Pulling (FA Racing), the sole free-practice session was paced by the two main title contenders, Victor Martins and Caio Collet. The Frenchman got the upper hand with a time of 1:40.795s while Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) and Lorenzo Colombo slotted in between the two young chargers. Two-time winner at Imola in July, David Vidales (JD Motorsport) completed the top five. Qualifying was a much different story. On a faster and faster track, Lorenzo Colombo beat the track record for the category with a lap of 1:40.075s to take his first pole position of the season ahead of Alex Quinn, Caio Collet, Franco Colapinto and Victor Martins.
When the lights went out, Lorenzo Colombo held on to the lead, but missed his first breaking point and went straight and through the gravel. In a very hectic field, Paul Aron (ART GRand Prix) made contact with Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) and lost control of his car before running into David Vidales at the first chicane. Before the safety car was called out to allow for the removal of the damaged cars as well as that of László Tóth (Bhaitech Racing), stuck on the grid, Caio Collet took advantage of an error by Lorenzo Colombo to take the lead. The Brazilian kept his adversaries in check at the restart, but that was short-lived because sixth place Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) went off at the first corner.
The race resumed on lap six. Despite pressure from Lorenzo Colombo, Caio Collet kept the lead before building the gap when his rival made an unforced error that let Alex Quinn move up to second place. Under the watchful eyes of the Renault DP World F1 Team and Renault Sport Academy, Caio Collet made the Brazilian national anthem play over the loudspeaker at Imola following his fourth win of the year with a four-second advantage to rookie category winner, Alex Quinn. Despite a trip through the gravel late in the race, local driver Lorenzo Colombo claimed the final step of the podium ahead of Franco Colapinto and Victor Martins. Hadrien David finished sixth ahead of Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport), who scored his best result this season so far. William Alatalo (JD Motorsport) was eighth ahead of Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport), who started 13th. Petr Ptáček (MP Motorsport) scored the final point on offer.
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): "It was an extremely complicated and busy day for the team and I really didn’t expect to be on the top step of the podium. However, the team did a phenomenal job in giving me a car that was simply incredible in the race and they deserve this win even more than I do. I just had to get a good start, to take advantage of Lorenzo Colombo’s mistake at turn one and control everything on the two restarts. Once again, I dedicate this success to the whole team!"
Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport): "I am happy to be on the podium. I lost a position at the start, but I took advantage of a mistake by Lorenzo Colombo to get closer, make a nice passing move and take second place. It’s great to get such a result in a support race of a Formula 1 Grand Prix and it is also very good for me in the general classification as the gap between David Vidales, Franco Colapinto and myself is getting smaller. I hope we can keep the momentum going to pick up a few places by the end of the season!"
Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing): "I was extremely happy to take pole position, but I struggled on the first lap. We have to analyse what happened because I didn’t have any grip at turn one. Then I made some mistakes, so I think the track conditions were very tricky. Other drivers handled it better than I did, but we will have a second chance tomorrow as we clearly have the pace to challenge for the win!"
1. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) 257 punten
2. Caio Collet (R-ace GP) 249 punten
3. David Vidales (JD Motorsport) 143 punten
4. Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) 138,5 punten
5. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) 124 punten