Victor Martins recovered from starting at the back of the grid to finish seventh in the Melbourne Sprint Race, scoring his first points of the 2024 season.

Martins lined up in P21, and will do the same in the Feature Race, after spinning into a stoppage on track during Friday’s Qualifying outing.

A strong opening to the Sprint put him up to P13 by the end of Lap 1 and in good position to pick his way through the rest of the field, before pulling off an overtake late on in the event on teammate Zak O’Sullivan to finish in P7.

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Reflecting on the race after jumping out of the cockpit, Martins said: “I think I had nothing to lose today or even tomorrow after what happened in Qualifying. But I will say it’s just trying to focus on myself going forward, removing any doubt from myself, and just pushing all the way to the end.

“I think we are improving the car a bit; we know what now we are doing this weekend and I think the pace was quite good.

“I made some good choices at some points in the race, we managed to get past a few drivers and to be out of trouble after. It was quite intense in some moments and quite stressful also.”

Talking through the start, he continued: “I had a mega start. Actually, the start itself was kind of okay. But it was just about taking the right decisions every corner, into Turn 1, Turn 2, 3, 4, 5 and then I went out of Turn 6 and I was already P13.

Martins was able to come through the field after a strong start
Martins was able to come through the field after a strong start

“That was quite a good one, I was quite happy about that. When you start on the right foot, looking forward you always have the right momentum, and then you bring it into the remaining laps.”

Martins was also asked about the improvements he and ART Grand Prix had made so far this year. The reigning Champions have started the season on the backfoot and came into the weekend with 14 points to their name and eighth in the Teams’ Standings.

The Frenchman himself had not scored any of the 14 points prior to landing in Melbourne but says this result shows he and the team are improving.

“It's kind of a reward to get the first points. It's absolutely not where wanted to be. Of course we want to be fighting for the title, but sometimes it’s like this.

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“We were struggling, we are still struggling, but we are improving. We need to be happy about the small steps we do and keep working in the same direction.”

As for the Feature Race, Martins said: “Tomorrow is another race, another opportunity to come back. I will say to get pleasure in the car and get back some confidence also for the future.

“A top five finish will be nice but first there will be things that will happen. We need to deal with them, keep cool, keep calm in the car and see where we will finish.

“I didn't have expectations for today, I just wanted to come back, overtake as many cars as possible and we did it. Let's see what we bring tomorrow.”