The season starts April 13 at Monza.
2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 runner-up, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), dominated day one of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective test. The Englishman set the Motorland Aragón track record ahead of his rival from last year Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport) and team-mate Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports). The Sauber F1 Team reserve driver set best time in the morning session.
After two days of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 testing, the Formula Renault 3.5s took over on the Motorland Aragón circuit. 12 teams and 22 drivers were on hand to begin their preparations for the 2014 season.
During the very busy morning session, Sergey Sirotkin, Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) took turns setting fastest lap. The Brazilian was the first to break the 1’40” barrier before provoking the first interruption of the day. At mid-session, Sergey Sirotkin improved his best time, stopping the clock at 1’39’’235 ahead of Zoël Amberg (AVF), Jazeman Jaafar (ISR), Will Stevens and Pietro Fantin.
Alone on the track at the beginning of session two, Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse), then saw the Lotuses of Matthieu Vaxivière and Marlon Stöckinger, Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) then the Fortecs of Sergey Sirotkin and Oliver Rowland battle for best time. Jazeman Jaafar lowered the reference time, but the Russian and Englishman answered. With 14-minutes remaining, Oliver Rowland clocked quickest time of the day in 1’38’’522; which broke the track record previously set by Raffaele Marciello last November. Pierre Gasly was second best ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, Pietro Fantin and Jazeman Jaafar.
Oliver Rowland: “This morning was frustrating because we decided to run on used tyres from last year. I came back to the pits, I settled down with my coach and we looked at everything and decided to make a lot of changes on the car. Afterward, with new tyres, it was just about getting the most out of the tyres at the right moment with a near perfect lap.”
Pierre Gasly: “I finished the day in second position. The work with the used tyres was productive in order to save the new tyres for the next two days. We put them on at the end of the day and my time showed that the programme paid dividends. As usual, there are always areas to improve in, but it is a very good start.”
Sergey Sirotkin: “The first collective tests always represent a lot of work. It is important to see how the car behaves on day one. While there was still more speed to be found this morning, we were in good shape. We improved a lot in the afternoon, as was shown in the potential of my team-mate.”
Pietro Fantin: “We didn’t have a lot of tyres to start an intensive testing programme. So we opted to share the duties with Luca. We began the day with a configuration similar to what we had for the tests in November. The car was well-balanced. We are very fast on old tyres, but we have some progress to make on fresh rubber. I am pleased with how the day went and we will see if we can set best time tomorrow!”
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