Monza: Thursday test report

Van der Garde ready to go The twenty-six brand new Formula Renault 3.5 Series cars took to the track at Monza today for the first collective testing session of the season. Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) got off to a fine start, claiming the...

Van der Garde ready to go

The twenty-six brand new Formula Renault 3.5 Series cars took to the track at Monza today for the first collective testing session of the season. Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) got off to a fine start, claiming the best time in both sessions. Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) clocked the second-fastest time, with Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) in third. The top 5 was completed by Julien Jousse (Tech1 Racing) and Marco Barba (International Draco Racing). Things get serious tomorrow in the season's first qualifying session, but already, these guys are looking primed and ready for action!

With two three-hour sessions, the 26 Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers had ample time to get to grips with the Monza circuit in their new cars. German driver Julian Theobald, who will race with Fortec Motorsport, became the final addition to the driver line-up.

So far, so good for Giedo Van der Garde! The Dutchman was in impressive form, finishing both sessions at the top of the timing screens. With consistently quick times on old and new tyres alike, Van der Garde's race preparations couldn't have gone better. <

Alvaro Barba, too, is in confident mood after clocking the second-fastest time overall in a polished performance . "We were at the Paul Ricard HTTT earlier in the week, and we found out some important things that helped us find an effective set-up. That work has obviously paid off as we were in the leading group today. I think everyone will go faster still tomorrow, not least my teammate Miguel Molina, who started with a different setup today."

Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette also hit his stride from the off, continuing his good form from the collective testing session in Barcelona. Just like all the other leading contenders, the International Draco driver split the day into two parts: "We were on old tyres for most of the day, then at the end of the day we focused on qualifying, because the conditions will be the same tomorrow. The car is well balanced; I managed to repeat my time consistently, which is ideal. The first day of the championship is always important. You wonder where you're going to finish, and it's important for your confidence to get off to a good start."

Fourth-placed Julien Jousse also lived up to his billing as one of the potential favorites, with reigning champions Tech 1 Racing. "It was a good afternoon's work. We tried out lots of things. There are still things we need to find out about the car, particularly on this circuit, which requires a very specific aerodynamic setup. I like this track - last year I clocked some good times here in my first race. This year I have to build on that and start the season well. We're pretty relaxed; we're not putting any pressure on ourselves."

Friday begins with a 45-minute collective testing session in the morning before the first qualifying session of the season gets underway late in the afternoon.

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Bertrand Baguette , Julien Jousse , Marco Barba , Julian Theobald