Duran leads the way Still comfortable on the streets of Monaco after last year, Salvador Duran (interwetten.com Racing) was quick to find his line in the principality as he set the fastest time in Collective testing ahead of Giedo Van der Garde...
Duran leads the way
Still comfortable on the streets of Monaco after last year, Salvador Duran (interwetten.com Racing) was quick to find his line in the principality as he set the fastest time in Collective testing ahead of Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) and Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec).
Formula Renault 3.5 Series has the honour of opening the 66th Grand-Prix de Monaco. The 26 cars with their 3.5-litre V6 engines are the first this year to race on the famous circuit.
All the drivers took to the track right from the word go, aiming to get to grips with this unique circuit. Salvador Duran took the initial lead, before the laps got quicker and quicker as the session progressed. Next, Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Guillaume Moreau (KTR) took the lead, just as Mikhail Aleshin clipped the barrier, thankfully without damaging his car.
As the drivers grew in confidence the times got quicker and quicker. Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) took his turn to hold the top time of 1'30''444, before Giedo Van der Garde set the first sub-1'30 lap. Lapping in 1'29''859, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader took pole position ahead of Guillaume Moreau, Salvador Duran and Fabio Carbone. However, Giedo Van der Garde and Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) were involved in a minor collision at the Rascasse. Neither car was damaged, but the track was blocked. The session was red-flagged.
After a brief interruption, everyone was under-way again. Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) took the lead for a brief moment before Salvador Duran moved ahead in 1'28''362.
Pasquale DiSabatino (Red Devil Team Comtec) went straight on at Mirabeau, which led to the second red flag of the session. The whole field was able to restart for a few minutes, although the times did not change. Salvador Duran was fastest of the morning, ahead of Giedo Van der Garde, Marco Bonanomi, Guillaume Moreau, and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport).
Qualifying begins on Saturday morning at 09:00 and racing starts at 11:15 on Sunday.
Giedo Van der Garde: "It's a tough circuit; you can lose it all very quickly. This morning the car was competitive right from the beginning. We've changed the set-up with qualifying in mind. But with all the rubber that gets laid down during the sessions, the track will just get quicker."
Marco Bonanomi: "It's really great to be back here, I love this circuit. We're going to improve the car, but we have good foundations. Most of all, we have to work on the brakes."
Pablo Sanchez: "It's a dream come true to drive here. My confidence is steadily building. It's hard to drive fast right from the start, but I'm hopeful for qualifying."
Alexandre Marsoin: "I've already driven one street-circuit at Pau. But this is another world, it's impressive. It's narrow, you have to get used to that, but I'm becoming more and more comfortable. Today was a day for learning, on Saturday I'll try and step up the pace in qualifying."