A week after their first win was taken away, MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP has bounced back courtesy of a dominant drive by Caio Collet.
Initially, it was Igor Fraga (Brazil) of M2 Competition who started on pole position with top Giles Motorsport driver Gregoire Saucy (Switzerland) alongside him in second.
However, neither of them made it out of Turn 1 with the lead. Instead, it was Renault Sport Academy junior Collet (Brazil) who went around the outside of Saucy now up to second and Fraga in third, who later reported a gear change issue off the start.
There was drama at the back end on Lap 1 when Spike Kohlbecker (USA) got sent into a spin on approach to Turn 1.
As the Full Course Caution was deployed, the chaos continued further behind when Jackson Walls (Australia) got into the back of Yuki Tsunoda (Japan). Tsunoda spun and fell to the back of the field while Walls returned to the pit lane with damage to his front right wheel.
With the field under control of the Safety Car, it was Collet who led Saucy, Fraga, Franco Colapinto, Lirim Zendeli, Emilien Denner, José Blanco, Axel Gnos and Liam Lawson.
When the race restarted, Collet edged away. Further afield, Lawson made his way past Gnos and was soon putting the pressure on Blanco.
Turn 1 was a hit spot for action. First, it was pit lane starter Rui Andrade who went wide, then it was Oliver Rasmussen who fell from 11th to 14th overall.
Lawson hustled his way around the short seven-turn circuit. Blanco was quickly dispatched and then a mistake from Denner at Turn 5 allowed the Kiwi to dive down the inside and snag the spot away.
Lawson continued to charge and managed to catch fifth placed Zendeli and sixth placed Cohen. The trailing pair had the draft and then Zendeli suddenly slowed. Cohen and Lawson blew by and inherited fifth and sixth.
At the head of the field, Collet was untouchable while Fraga fought to get by Saucy. However, he was resilient in defence and ultimately managed to hold onto second.
That was the way it stayed. After 20 laps it was Collet who claimed the win with Saucy and Fraga behind.
“I had a really good start and made a move to P1 and after that the car was just incredible to be honest,” Collet said.
“Thanks for the team, they made a really big effort all week. I’m really happy to come back from last week and take the win. The full focus is on tomorrow.”
Colapinto finished just off the podium in fourth while Cohen completed the top five. Lawson, Zendeli, Denner, Petr Ptacek and Blanco rounded out the top 10.
It was a stellar effort from Lawson who climbed from 13th to an important sixth place. It ensures he’ll be towards the pointy end of the grid with a reverse top six or top eight.
“Obviously the goal in the race was to try at least get P8 or P6 even, we managed to do that, which is good,” Lawson said.
“We were very disappointed after Qualifying because we had the pace to be right at the front. Unfortunately, we got screwed with the Red Flag.
“We made the best of it in the race, so I’m very happy with it.
Qualifying 2 gets underway at 9:35 am, which will be followed by Race 2 at 11:45 am and Race 3 at 4:05 pm.