Historic. In the single-spec era of Formula Renault, never has a driver began his single-seater career with a win in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Starting from pole position, setting the fastest lap in the race and leader from green to chequers, David Vidales (JD Motorsport) took a historic victory today at Imola ahead of Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and team mate William Alatalo (JD Motorsport).
After five hours of collective tests since Thursday, the Formula Renault Eurocup field took part this morning in the first qualifying session.
Vidales wastes no time
Under bright skies, the track quickly improved as did the times. Caio Collet, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix), David Vidales and William Alatalo were quickly a cut above the rest of the field.
Caio Collet led the way with six minutes remaining in the session, but David Vidales snatched away P1 with a lap of 1:40.419s on his final run. The Spanish rookie won the pole in his first qualifying session in a single-seater ahead of the Brazilian driver of the Renault Sport Academy, Victor Martins and William Alatalo. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) and Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport) filled out row three on the grid.
An historic victory
When the lights went out, David Vidales maintained his lead from Caio Collet, while William Alatalo surprised Victor Martins to move up to third place as Alex Quinn looked on.
In a field shaken by the difficult start of Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport) and a contact between Ugo de Wilde and Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix), Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) moved up to sixth place ahead of Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport), Ugo de Wilde, Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) and Michael Belov (M2 Competition).
Race leader David Vidales quickly pushed his lead to over a second from Caio Collet, who was being followed closely from those behind. The Spaniard kept pushing hard, posting the fastest lap of the race at half-distance to extend his lead to 2.5s. The Brazilian began to close the gap before the safety car was called into service to allow for the removal of the car of Petr Ptá?ek (R-ace GP) from the gravel.
At the restart, David Vidales kept a cool head in keeping his rivals at bay before the Renault Mégane R.S a made second intervention following the off of Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix), who was running sixth at the time.
The race concluded behind the safety car, David Vidales wrapped up an historic victory in winning in his debut ahead of Caio Collet and team mate William Alatalo. Victor Martins finished fourth, followed by Alex Quinn, Franco Colapinto, Lorenzo Colombo and Ugo de Wilde. Following a strong restart, Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) overtook Michael Belov for ninth place.
Tomorrow, qualifying gets underway at 9:00 ahead of the second and final race of the weekend at 12:15.
David Vidales (JD Motorsport): “I could not have wished for a better debut in single-seater racing and this weekend is off to a fantastic start. The start was a bit complicated as everything is new and different from karting! I had to get the tyres warmed up and make sure they didn’t deteriorate as I knew the race would be long. However, I held on to the lead when the lights went out and my pace was good enough to make a small gap until the safety car. This was also new for me, but I made a good restart to go on for the win. I think we can still improve in some areas, so the target will be to do the same tomorrow. I think that if we keep working like this, we’ll be able to fight for the title!”
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): “I don’t think I could’ve done better today. JD Motorsport has had excellent pace since the start of the tests and they were able to maintain a small lead over us. However, I am satisfied with this result as this is my first time at Imola and I scored a lot of points towards the general classification, but I will continue to work hard with the team to finish one place higher tomorrow.”
William Alatalo (JD Motorsport): “I’m delighted to score my first podium result in the Formula Renault Eurocup. My goal was to gain at least one position at the start and I made an excellent one to achieve that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pace to overtake Caio and catch up to David. I tried to stay close on the main straight to try and surprise him at turn two, but it was not easy at all with the two medium and high-speed corners before. I am pleased with this third place, but I will give absolutely everything I’ve got to win tomorrow.”
Provisional general classification*
1. Caio Collet (R-ace GP) 58
2. Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) 48
3. Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) 31
4. Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) 28
5. David Vidales (JD Motorsport) 25
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting checks.
Formule Renault Eurocup / Photo © DPPI