The 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup season continues to be dominated by two drivers as both Victor Martins and Caio Collet shared out the victories on the series’ return to the Dutch circuit of Zandvoort for the first time since 2000.
Between them, they have taken the last six victories on offer in the category, and they finished first and second in both races at Zandvoort, with each taking a win and a second place finish to further extend their advantage in the championship over their rivals.
Eighteen Cars on the Grid as MP Motorsport Bring in Staněk
After seventeen cars competed at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the field gained an entry for Zandvoort, with Czech racer Roman Staněk joining MP Motorsport alongside regular drivers Franco Colapinto and Hadrien David.
Staněk took advantage of the FIA Formula 3 Championship season ending by joining MP Motorsport, sixteen-year-old taking over the car that was driven in the opening two races by Joey Alders.
The other change to the grid was the welcome return of Nicola Marinangeli at Bhaitech Racing following his recovery from a broken leg. The Italian returned in place of Vicky Piria, who stepped away from the series despite scoring a point in France last time out.
Martins Continues Strong Form with Opening Victory
ART Grand Prix’s Martins took pole position for Saturday’s opening race of the weekend at Zandvoort, with R-ace GP’s Collet 0.127 seconds behind in second place. However, the gap to third placed Petr Ptácek of 0.925 seconds highlighted just how far ahead of the field the leading duo were.
The initial start was aborted when David ran into a problem and was forced into the pitlane, but when the race did get underway, it was Martins who held onto the lead ahead of Collet.
The leading pair were in a race of their own, finishing the twenty-lap race 1.453 seconds apart but well clear of third placed David Vidales of JD Motorsport. Vidales passed Ptácek on the opening lap to move up to third, but the Spaniard was unable to keep in touch with Martins or Collet, ending 17.297 seconds behind at the chequered flag.
Ptácek held onto fourth despite pressure from FA Racing by Manor’s Amaury Cordeel, while Colapinto did likewise against ART Grand Prix’s Paul Aron in the battle for sixth. Aron had passed team-mate Grégoire Saucy on the opening lap, with Arden’s Alex Quinn and Bhaitech’s Lorenzo Colombo also finding a way ahead of the Swiss driver.
William Alatalo finished just outside the points in eleventh after starting at the rear of the field following a crash during Qualifying. He finished four seconds clear of Arden’s Ugo de Wilde, with FA Racing by Manor’s Tijmen van der Helm ending thirteenth ahead of the debuting Staněk.
Arden’s Reshad de Gerus continues to search for his first points of the season after finishing fifteenth, while David ended sixteenth after his pit lane start. The Renault Sport Academy driver ended ahead of the returning Marinangeli and his Hungarian team-mate László Tóth.
Collet Rebounds to Claim Third Victory of 2020
It was wet in Qualifying for race two at Zandvoort, and although the conditions were different, it was the leading duo who again led the way, although this time it was Collet who took pole position from Martins.
Collet’s best time of 1:33.120 was 0.326 seconds clear of Martins, with Aron and Saucy making it three ART Grand Prix cars inside the top four, albeit 0.789 and 0.907 seconds off Collet’s pole time.
At the start, Collet maintained his advantage at the front, while Martins dropped to third behind team-mate Aron. However, it was not long before the Frenchman had regained that position, with Martins making a move on the Estonian heading into turn one on the third lap.
Martins, however, would not have the pace to make any significant gains on Collet, with the Brazilian going on to win for the third time in 2020 by 2.577 seconds.
Aron was on course to complete the podium, but a mechanical issue ended his day, which promoted Colapinto to third place. For the MP Motorsport driver, it was his first visit to the podium since the opening race weekend of the season at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Vidales missed out on the podium by less than half a second, although the Spaniard will have been happy to climb to fourth after finding himself qualifying only eighth in the tricky wet conditions. Colombo ended up fifth for Bhaitech, more than five seconds clear of Ptácek, while van der Helm made a welcome return to the points in seventh ahead of Saucy, Staněk and Alatalo.
David’s difficult campaign continued as he finished only eleventh ahead of a trio of Arden cars, with Quinn, de Wilde and de Gerus ending up twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth respectively ahead of Marinangeli and Tóth.
As well as Aron retiring, there was also disappointment for Cordeel, with the Belgian being forced to sit out the race after his car broke on the way to the grid. He was set to start from fifth on the grid after an impressive display in Qualifying.
Winning Drivers Reactions at Zandvoort
Victor Martins: “That makes four wins from the last five races! We are in a good groove and we continue to improve the car in each session, no matter the track.
“My start wasn’t great, but I was able to hold on to the lead before focusing on my race, creating the gap and maintaining it. Everything went well today with pole position, the win and the best lap in the race. We will need more and we will get them!”
Caio Collet: “I am really happy as we were able to maximise everything we missed yesterday. Qualifying was the key today and half of the work was done in taking the pole.
“Then we had to focus on the start and the car was very consistent, especially at the end of the race. I only had to manage the gap with Victor and I would like to thank the team, God and my partners. It will be tight until the end between Victor and I and we will need more results like today!”