Taking a surprise first pole of the year in Sakhir, Franco Colapinto proved one-lap pace is no issue for Formula 3 newcomers Van Amersfoort Racing, and the Argentine says that the team have been working hard at testing to find the long-run speed to match.

Colapinto finished out of the points in the Sprint Race following a collision in the opening lap, and then ended the Feature Race in fifth after losing the lead, and later being issued a five-second time penalty for violating track limits.

Making the top three on Days 1 and 2 in Barcelona, Colapinto was the busiest driver in Spain, posting an impressive 106 laps.

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Colapinto says hes been working heavily on long-run pace in Barcelona
Colapinto says he's been working heavily on long-run pace in Barcelona

“We were strong in the performance runs and then we found some good pace in the long runs,” said Colapinto. “It has been quite good for us as we were missing a tiny bit, and I feel like we’ve made a little step forward for the Feature Races.

“I am still working on the long runs as that’s where I’ve struggled the most since the beginning. We’re working on making the car stronger for my driving, which will give me a helping hand.

“We are slowly moving in the right direction, and I am happy with the improvements that we’ve made in the long runs. It has been quite positive and at the moment it is getting better, but there are still many areas to work on.”

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Colapinto completed the most laps during testing at Barcelona
Colapinto completed the most laps during testing at Barcelona

Despite the positive start they enjoyed in Sakhir and the improvements made at the two tests in Spain, Colapinto is remaining grounded going into the second round at Imola and the European leg of the season.

“We were strong from the beginning of the year, and we've looked strong at every track we've been to so far,” he continued. “Testing has been good, but it isn't a race week, and many teams will have been sandbagging and not showing their full performance.

“However, I think we are in a good position for the next few races, and I believe that Imola can be good for us.”