In taking his first win in the Formula Renault Eurocup at the Red Bull Ring, Victor Martins (R-ace GP) becomes the seventh different winner in ten races this year. Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) and Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport joined the Renault Sport Academy driver on the podium after the penalty handed to Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport). While Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) still leads the general classification, the title battle has never been as tight as the season heads into its second half.
On Friday afternoon, Victor Martins posted the best time in qualifying with a lap of 1:29.288s. The French driver claimed his first pole position ahead of Lorenzo Colombo and two other members of the Renault Sport Academy, Christian Lundgaard and Max Fewtrell. Row three was composed of Richard Verschoor and Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing), followed by Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport), Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport).
An epic race in the Alps
At the start, Lorenzo Colombo got the advantage at turn one, but the Italian driver went wide and Victor Martins wasted little time in taking back the lead. Max Fewtrell got past Christian Lundgaard for third place, while Alex Peroni moved into the top five before Richard Verschoor reclaimed the position. Starting 10th, Logan Sargeant picked up two places before entering a duel with Yifei Ye, while Axel Matus (AVF by Adrian Valles) and Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) looked on from behind.
The opening laps were marked by superb battles up and down the order. The top four pulled away from the rest of the field and every driver pressured his rival in front of him without finding his way past. Yifei Ye got by Logan Sargeant before attacking Alex Peroni. The Australian relinquished the spot on lap 11. In a tightly bunched field, Neil Verhagen also used all of his attacking skills to surprise Alex Matus, then Logan Sargeant, who retired late in the race.
Despite the small gaps at the front of the order, the positions remained the same. Victor Martins kept a cool head to take the win ahead of Lorenzo Colombo. The Italian driver was penalised ten seconds after the race for jumping the start. He dropped to sixth place behind Max Fewtrell, Christian Lundgaard, Richard Verschoor and Yifei Ye.
Seventh place Alex Peroni fended off the attacks from Neil Verhagen, while the final two points paying positions offered a chance to watch a brilliant battle. Running in 10th place for most of the race despite a damaged nose cone, Axel Matus ended up behind Oscar Piastri and Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing).
Victor Martins (R-ace GP): “It was a difficult race, but really amazing! It just proved the quality of this category and the excellent level of the drivers. I didn’t get the best of starts. I didn’t make the right choice heading to turn one, but I managed to get a strong exit to re-pass Lorenzo at turn three. After that, I had to stay focused just until the finish and I want to thank the team for the incredible work they’ve done. This is an excellent result as we head into the second half of the season, but we will have to work twice as hard to keep this momentum going.”
Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP): “The key today was to either know how to hold onto your position or just go for it. The objective was to outscore my rivals and that is exactly what I did. I am quite happy with this result, although it was rather difficult to follow the other cars. Compared to yesterday, I had to deal with severe tyre degradation and we need to analyse why. I have total confidence in my team and I think we will have a solid weekend at Spa next week.”
|1. Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing)||124|
|2. Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport)||118|
|3. Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP)||109.5|
|4. Victor Martins (R-ace GP)||102|
|5. Charles Milesi (R-ace GP)||82.5|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications.