A current and a former Renault Sport Academy star took the honours in the two races of the fourth round of the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup championship, with Caio Collet and Victor Martins sharing the victories.
Just a week after the Eurocup drivers raced at the Nürburgring in Germany, they were back in action in France, with the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours hosting its first Eurocup event since 2010.
Seventeen Cars Entered for Magny-Cours until van der Helm Withdraws
The same seventeen cars that entered the races at the Nürburgring just seven days earlier were back in action at Magny-Cours, although FA Racing by Manor were reduced to one car after Tijmen van der Helm failed to appear for any of the qualifying sessions.
Vicky Piria continued to deputise for the injured Nicola Marinangeli at Bhaitech Racing alongside Lorenzo Colombo and László Tóth, with the rest of the field still as it was in Germany, with M2 Competition still absent from the entry list following Mikhael Belov’s decision to race in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Collet and Petr Ptácek were back with R-ace GP, as were Franco Colapinto and Hadrien David at MP Motorsport, while Alex Quinn continued at Arden in place of the still-absent Jackson Walls. The Briton was joined at Arden by Reshad de Gerus and Ugo de Wilde.
Two-time race winner David Vidales was back at JD Motorsport alongside William Alatalo, while van der Helm’s absence left Amaury Cordeel as the sole entry for FA Racing by Manor.
Another two-time winner Martins led the ART Grand Prix entry, with his team-mates once again being Mercedes-Benz protégé Paul Aron and young Swiss racer Grégoire Saucy.
Collet Leads from Start to Finish to Retake Championship Lead
Collet, one of two Renault Sport Academy members on the grid, took pole position for the opening race of the weekend, and was able to convert the position into an easy victory, his second of the season.
The R-ace GP driver did not put a wheel wrong as he edged clear of the chasing pack, which was led by Vidales after the Spaniard jumped ahead of a slow-starting Martins at the start.
Collet took the chequered flag 4.223 seconds clear of Vidales, with Martins getting close on occasion but finding it impossible to get through ahead of the Spaniard. This meant the championship lead switched back to Collet, with Martins falling to second.
Well adrift of the leading three was Saucy in fourth, who along with Quinn both found a way ahead of Colombo, the Italian falling to sixth early on, a position he then held until the chequered flag.
Aron was on course for seventh but made a mistake to allow de Wilde to take the position, with the Estonian also falling behind Ptácek and Alatalo to finish tenth. Tóth, de Gerus and Colapinto were the only other finishers, with the later pitting at the end of the opening lap to repair some damage after a hectic start in the midfield.
David, the second Renault-backed driver on the grid, was eliminated after contact with Colapinto, while both Piria and Cordeel were also out on the opening lap after getting involved in incidents.
Martins Returns to Winning Ways to Regain Title Lead Again
Martins took pole position for race two in France, and he was able to capitalise on a safety car start to hold onto the lead at the start.
Cement dust on the main straight saw the stewards opt for a safety car start, and Martins made the most of it to retain his position at the front of the field ahead of Collet, with the leading two seemingly in a race of their own.
Despite two further interventions of the safety car, Martins was able to control the race from the front, winning by 0.690 seconds from Collet, while Vidales completed the podium, 3.097 seconds adrift of the race winner.
Vidales was followed home by Colombo and Quinn, with the top five at the start being the top five at the chequered flag, with the movement coming in the lower positions of the top ten.
Saucy got the better of de Wilde to claim sixth, with Alatalo taking eighth ahead of Cordeel and first-time points scorer Piria as the midfield runners got too close to one another.
Ptácek was eliminated with a broken suspension caused by contact with Colapinto, while the Argentine racer also retired with the same problem after contact with David that ended up with the Frenchman at the back of the field at the chequered flag. He finished thirteenth behind eleventh-placed Tóth and twelve-placed Aron. As well as Colapinto and Ptácek, de Gerus was also an early retiree.
Just two points now separate Martins and Collet at the top of the championship standings, the Frenchman on one hundred and thirty-three points to the one hundred and thirty-one of the Brazilian. Vidales is third on ninety-two points despite missing the opening two races, with the Spaniard now well clear of fourth placed Colapinto (sixty-eight points).