The #26 G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro car with Franco Colapinto, Nyck de Vries and Roman Rusinov on board was simply untouchable during the lead-up to the weekend, topping the timesheets in both free practice sessions and claiming pole position with Nyck behind the wheel in Saturday’s qualifying. However, the road from pole to victory was as challenging as it gets.
The race started with Roman loosing a place to the championship leading WRT car, which was later penalised for jumping the start. The Russian did a great job by maintaining P2 and handing over to Franco after 45 minutes, with Franco only taking one new front left tyre to save time in the pits.
The ROFGO driver – the youngest on the 41-car grid, did an impeccable job of closing the gap to Robert Kubica, until a faulty pit stop put his charge to a halt, dropping him back to P8. However, that didn’t stop the Argentinean from carving himself back up again. Franco fended off the pressure coming from behind and climbed all the way up to fifth place to finish his stint.
Finally, it was Nyck’s turn to finish the job and he did it in style. The Dutchman made a move on the United Autosports car for first place with one hour left on the clock and reclaimed the lead. Unfazed by the FCY and the traffic, he steered the #26 G-Drive Racing car to victory for the first time this season.
‘’We did it! First win of the season in the bag, and my first race win in endurance racing” -Franco said.“We had a great package during the entire weekend and both Nyck and Roman did an amazing job. It was not an easy win for sure but that just makes it feel even sweeter. Thanks to G-Drive Racing for providing us with the perfect car. I can’t wait to do it all over again in Monza!”
The #26 squad including Franco is now sitting P2 in the overall standings only three points off the leaders with three more rounds to go.
Franco next races in the fifth round of the Formula Regional European Championship in two weeks’ time (June 18-20) in Zandvoort.