The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has become Victor Martins’ playground in recent years, and the Frenchman showed just why he is the current championship leader by taking his second clean sweep of the Formula Renault Eurocup season last weekend.
Two pole positions, two fastest laps and two race victories gave Martins an extended advantage at the top of the championship standings, and he did it despite conditions being extremely wet on the Saturday and completely dry (but cold) on Sunday.
Spanish Formula 4 Racer Haverkort Joins the Field
Sixteen-year-old Kas Haverkort was a welcome addition to the Formula Renault Eurocup field in Spain, with the Dutchman joining MP Motorsport.
Haverkort, who also races for MP Motorsport in the Spanish Formula 4 Championship, is in his first year of car racing but has hit the ground running, winning seven times in the opening twelve races to head the championship. He joined regular MP drivers Franco Colapinto and Hadrien David for his series debut in an otherwise unchanged field for round six of the season.
Martins Takes Opening Win at a Very Wet Barcelona
Martins took pole position for race one on Saturday morning around a dry Circuiit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while his main championship rival Caio Collet joined him on the front row.
Brazilian Collet, racing for R-ace GP, was 0.219 seconds behind the ART Grand Prix driver, while Colapinto took third on the grid ahead of another ART entry of Grégoire Saucy. Row three saw Alex Quinn of Arden qualify just ahead of FA Racing by Manor’s Amaury Cordeel.
Just before the race, the heavens opened at the circuit, and when the race began, everyone was on wet tyres on a saturated track. Martins held onto the lead, but Collet had a nightmare getaway and fell down to tenth by the first corner as Colapinto slipped into second.
Try as he might, Colapinto was unable to keep up with Martins, who had a sizeable advantage over the Argentine racer with two-thirds of the race gone. However, coming through the pack was the charging Collet, who showed just what the Renault Sport Academy saw in him by passing car after car to reclaim the second place he lost at the start.
The hairpin at the end of the back straight was his favourite spot for overtaking, but when he was through into second, Martins’ gap at the front was too large for him to do anything about, and the difference between the two at the chequered flag was 16.917s. Collet, however, showed he had just as much pace as the Frenchman did up front, even though he did miss out on the fastest lap to his rival.
Colapinto should have finished third, but a late-race mistake at turn five relegated him to sixth at the chequered flag, with Arden’s Ugo de Wilde profiting from the error for his first podium finish of the season, albeit more than twelve seconds behind second-placed Collet.
Saucy missed out on the podium in fourth, while David finished fifth ahead of the disappointed Colapinto and Quinn. Haverkort’s debut race saw him finish ninth behind ART Grand Prix’s Paul Aron, while the top ten was rounded out by FA Racing by Manor’s Tijmen van der Helm. Eleventh placed David Vidales of JD Motorsport took the final point as Haverkort was ineligible to score points this weekend.
Despite the tricky conditions, amazingly all drivers saw the chequered flag, although there were off-track moments for a number of drivers including Bhaitech’s Lorenzo Colombo and Nicola Marinangeli, the latter having several offs that resulted in him being a lap down at the chequered flag.
Martins Doubles Up on Sunday
Martins once again took pole position for race two at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, meaning he has taken top spot in Qualifying in the past five Eurocup races at the track. It was also his seventh pole position of the season.
Joining Martins on the front row was Colapinto, although the Argentine was more than three-tenths of a second back from the Frenchman, while Aron and Collet filled out row two ahead of Vidales and Quinn.
The race was delayed when Petr Ptácek stopped on-track just before the grid, with the R-ace GP driver being wheeled back into the pits as the field went around for a second formation lap. This also had the effect of reducing the time of the race from thirty to twenty-eight minutes.
At lights out, Martins held onto the lead ahead of a fast-starting Collet, who jumped from fourth on the grid to run second. Behind them, an incident involving Quinn and Aron at turn one relegated both to the rear of the field, with the former retiring a few laps later due to the damage on the car.
Once out front, Martins was again in a class of his own, pulling out a significant gap on his championship rival, but with just four minutes to go, the safety car was deployed when de Wilde and Cordeel clashed at turn one. The race resumed with just one lap remaining, but Martins did not put a foot wrong and took his sixth win of the season, 1.543 seconds clear of Collet.
Colapinto made amends for his race one mistake to claim the final place on the podium, with Vidales taking fourth. Colombo had made good gains on the opening lap to run fifth, but the Italian was unable to stay there, falling to ninth by the chequered flag as debutant Haverkort took an excellent fifth ahead of David, van der Helm and William Alatalo (JD Motorsport).
Behind Colombo was his Bhaitech Racing team-mate László Tóth, while eleventh and securing his first point of the season (thanks to Haverkort not being eligible again for points) was Arden’s Reshad de Gerus.
Aron had climbed into the points following his first lap incident, but the Estonian was handed a time penalty post-race to relegate him down from tenth to twelfth, with Cordeel also receiving a penalty for his clash with de Wilde, moving him from eleventh to thirteenth. These penalties ensured Tóth and de Gerus scored points.
Winning Drivers Reactions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Victor Martins (Saturday): “The conditions were really tricky. We knew we had the pace to win whether the track was dry or wet.
“I had to get a good start and that’s what I did by holding on to first place at turn one before extending my lead lap after lap. When the car is perfect like mine was today, it’s just a matter of doing what I do best!”
Victor Martins (Sunday): “I love Barcelona! This my sixth victory of the season and it’s just amazing.
“Once again, the car was perfect and I just had to focus on my driving lap after lap. We are getting stronger and stronger every weekend and we don’t want to leave anything to anyone else!”