The weekend started well for the #26 G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro squad of Colapinto, Roman Rusinov, and Mikkel Jensen, setting strong pace in both practice sessions.
Franco was chosen to do the honors in Saturday’s qualifying, and the ROFGO driver did not disappoint. He shot to the top of the timing screen with a dominating performance, claiming his maiden ELMS pole position by 0.42 seconds, the biggest margin so far this year.
In Sunday`s race however, the #26 squad was plagued by bad luck. An unfortunate strategy move resulted in the Aurus 01 machine running out of fuel by the end of a long Safety Car period, barely making it back to the pit lane.
Fortunately, the #24 sister car with Richard Bradley on board came to the rescue and gave a push in the pit lane to the #26 allowing them to stay in the race, but the unusual gesture didn’t win the stewards hearts and left the team with a 5-second penalty, in addition to a 10-second stop and go due to a safety car procedure infringement. This chain of events threw the leading G-Drive car all the way down to P38, well into the mix of LMP3 and GT cars, and nearly 2 laps down on the leaders.
Even though the race was compromised way before Franco got to turn the wheel, that didn’t seem to bother the young Argentine. The 18-year old who is competing in his first season in sports cars gave the fans an impressive show, storming all the way up to P13, improving 25 positions over the course of his 50-lap stint, and setting the fastest lap of the race, being the only driver to go under 1m40s mark, finishing his run with the best average lap time amongst Silver-rated drivers.
Peugeot factory driver- Mikkel Jensen who joined the team in Monza in the absence of de Vries followed up with an impeccable performance and made his way up to P8, scoring some important points and keeping their position in the title fight.
“I am really happy with my lap in Qualifying, “ – Colapinto said. “ The team did an amazing job to prepare the car, it’s just a shame we could not turn it into a win. We had the pace to achieve it but the race was not on our side this time. Always quickest car on track and fastest lap of the race too. We move on, and keep working for Le Mans!’
The 2021 ELMS season continues in two months’ time at Spa Francorchamps, but before that, Franco -who runs a double campaign this year- will race at the Belgian track next weekend in the Formula Regional European Championship with MP Motorsport.