The second round of the 2021 ELMS season took place last weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
- Franco Colapinto scores maiden ELMS podium at the Red Bull Ring.
- The 17-year-old impresses under treacherous conditions
- The #26 G-Drive Racing squad moves up to second place in the championship
This was Colapinto’s third consecutive race weekend of a 6-week streak of having to adapt from his Formula Regional car to the LMP2 machine, but that didn’t stop the 17-year-old rookie from excelling at a circuit he’s never raced before.
The weekend started strongly in official practice for the #26 G-Drive squad with Franco Colapinto, Nyck De Vries, and Roman Rusinov on board. Unfortunately, their qualifying was thwarted by the heavy traffic, resulting in a 7th place start for Sunday’s race.
Even though the race start was expected to be wet, Rusinov took the start under the blue Austrian skies and held onto his position, handing the wheel to De Vries at the first pit stop and taking the lead with some swift pitstop work from the G-Drive crew. Just over the halfway point of the 4-hour race, the heavens opened. After another well-timed pitstop, Franco jumped in the car during the second safety car period.
The ROFGO Junior driver who had no LMP2 experience in wet conditions had to face a challenge that would give a hard time to the most seasoned professionals. He had to deal with the traffic caused by the lapped drivers, while fending off the championship leader in the WRT car and he completed the task with flying colours. Unfortunately, the tyre lottery with mixed conditions was not in the #26 squads’ favor, and with only 15 minutes on the clock, he slipped back to second place after a thrilling battle for the lead of the race. “I really wanted to win the race”, said Franco after the race, whilst scoring his maiden ELMS podium. With 18 points collected, Franco and his teammates now sit second place in the overall standings.
‘’To finish P2 starting from 7th is obviously an amazing result but today just feels like we really deserved that win,” – said Colapinto. ” We had the pace, and the team did a very strong job. It’s disappointing to lose the race due to this crazy weather but our intermediate tyres just went overpressure slightly and made it very difficult to fight. P2 in the championship and we will keep fighting to get the win. Awesome job by Roman and Nyck. We’ll be back for more at Le Castellet!”
Franco doesn’t have too much time to rest, as he will race on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, making his street circuit debut in the Formula. Regional European Championship.