Lorenzo Colombo takes his first victory of the Formula Renault Eurocup season at Paul Ricard
Lorenzo Colombo has won the opening race of the Formula Renault Eurocup weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, leading lights-to-flag to take an almost-five-second victory. Colombo said:
“Especially great circuit, this one. A really nice win for me - the pace was awesome, I could create a gap easily. I would like to say good thanks to the team which made me the car really perfect this weekend, and tomorrow we’ll be going for more. I know my car is strong, we’ll be going for more.
Italian Lorenzo Colombo started on pole at Le Castellet, alongside Australian Oscar Piastri on the front row in second.
Colombo did well to hold his lead off the start, holding off the challenge from Piastri’s white Renault, as the Australian had to move to the kerb, hitting a bump and becoming briefly airborne, but ultimately holding his second place by Turn 1.
The order was Colombo, Piastri, Victor Martins, Alexander Smolyar, as the field levelled out on Le Mistral straight, but it was soon neutralised as the safety car was deployed before the end of the lap. It was unclear what caused the collision, but Petr Ptacek’s Bhaitech Renault was left stranded and heavily damaged on the rear section of the track, with Amaury Cordeel, Patrik Pasma, and Alessio Deledda all retiring.
Off the restart, Colombo held his lead, as Piastri was unable to pull close to the Italian. Victor Martins, in third, prepared an overtake on Piastri into Turn 1, but thought better of it and pulled in behind the R-ace GP driver.
Piastri’s gap to the leader was a huge 1.8 seconds by the end of the first lap of the restart, but it didn’t take long for Piastri to wear it down between 0.6-0.7 seconds by lap 6.
Victor Martins looked racy on Piastri’s tail, with Smolyar tucked in behind him, but the Frenchman could not get any closer than 1.5s behind Piastri through the long, sweeping turns in Le Castellet.
With the leaders spread out, the closest battle was for P6, with Kush Maini stealing the position from Ugo De Wilde into Turn 1.
At the front, Colombo headed off Piastri, setting the fastest lap on lap 7 and extending his lead to over 1 second. The race seemed over by lap 10, with Colombo 2.6 seconds ahead of Piastri, himself 2 seconds ahead of Victor Martins in third.
However, the race came alive as the clock hit zero, with 1 lap remaining. Colombo locked up, losing a small amount of time to Piastri, but it was a charging Martins who drew the crowd’s attention, as he drew within 1 second of second-place Piastri.
Piastri ultimately finished second, with Victor Martins unable to catch him by the chequered flag but completing the podium in third. Lorenzo Colombo took the race win by 4.9 seconds, having led lights-to-flag, for his first win of the season.
Martins holds his championship lead on 104 points, but Piastri, second on 102 points, will start tomorrow’s Race 2 in pole position.
The Formula Renault Eurocup returns tomorrow for Race 2 at 11.25pm AEST.
Formula Renault Eurocup - Race 1 @ Circuit Paul Ricard
Oscar Piastri (AUS) +4.945s
Victor Martins +5.621s
Alexander Smolyar +9.122s
Caio Collet +11.692s
Kush Maini +12.721s
Ugo De Wilde +19.864s
Joao Vieira +21.593s
Sebastian Fernandez +22.407s
Frank Bird +24.937s
Callan O’Keefe +26.012s
Xavier Llovera +39.071s
Federico Malvestiti +42.880s
Brad Benavides +43.520s
Patrick Schott +1:02.293
Leonardo Lorandi +1 lap
Lucas Alecco Roy +3 laps
Patrik Pasma DNF
Alessio Deledda DNF
Amaury Cordeel DNF
Petr Ptacek DNF