Parente by a whisker Determined to go top of the championship at Donington Park, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) clocked the best time of today's two sessions of collective testing. The Portuguese driver was 19 thousandths of a second quicker...
Parente by a whisker
Determined to go top of the championship at Donington Park, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) clocked the best time of today's two sessions of collective testing. The Portuguese driver was 19 thousandths of a second quicker than the Frenchman Guillaume Moreau (KTR) and 55 thousands of a second ahead of his fellow countryman Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi). Needless to say, the stage is set for a thrilling qualifying session tomorrow!
As predicted, the sun was shining in the English countryside as the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 drivers arrived at Donington Park. Amongst their number were two drivers making their first appearance in the category: GD Racing's Luiz Razia from Brazil and German driver Julian Theobald (Eurointernational).
Unlike at previous meetings, there were only two hours of collective testing scheduled before qualifying. Alvaro Parente showed the benefits of his experience early on. After clocking a lap time of 1'19''750 just 45 minutes in, he could afford to relax, particularly when the red flag brought the action to a halt for a few minutes. Three tenths of a second behind Parente, Bertrand Baguette (KTR) continued the good form he has shown in his last few races.
Grip increased as the day went on, and the afternoon session was much quicker than the morning. All the drivers knocked around 1.5 seconds off their earlier times! Half an hour in, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) was the first to break the 1'18" barrier. Although the Russian driver only took the day's seventh-fastest time, he was feeling confident: "We tried out a lot of different things today and we know exactly where we stand. If all goes well tomorrow, I think I'll be among the leaders."
Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing) and Fairuz Fauzy (Cram Competition) then threw their hats into the ring in the fight for the best time. A quarter of an hour from the end, Filipe Albuquerque grabbed top spot on the timing screens: "The car was superbly balanced today. As always, I worked hard on my driving. The lines are slightly different from last year, when I was driving a Formula Renault 2.0. I think we're in with a chance this weekend. Even though I didn't have a great weekend at Spa, I think I've learnt from my mistakes."
Guillaume Moreau overtook Albuquerque as the chequered flag approached, despite breaking his finger three weeks ago at Spa. "I've had an operation and I have to keep a splint on it for nearly two months", he explained. "I am still feeling the pain and it's not easy to do well consistently, lap after lap. I'm making a lot of little mistakes, which I wouldn't normally do. But I'm staying positive: with the second-fastest time here, we've carried on the good form we've shown since Budapest." His teammate Bertrand Baguette was in a similar frame of mind: "The car's in good shape and I'm consistently ending up in the leading pack. We just need to turn our good form into good results in the races this weekend!"
In the dying seconds, Alvaro Parente grabbed the best time of the day with 1'18''049. The former UK F3 Champion is feeling particularly relaxed and confident about his prospects for the weekend ahead: "The car was over-steering a bit this morning but the team put that right for the afternoon session. Everything's going to plan, even if we know we can still improve on a few minor things. I can't wait for qualifying!"