Ricciardo makes an immediate impact The first collective test sessions of the 2008 season in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 were held on the Valencia track on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 February. Two studious days during which the ...
Ricciardo makes an immediate impact
The first collective test sessions of the 2008 season in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 were held on the Valencia track on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 February. Two studious days during which the Eurocup youngsters could measure up to one another for the first time this year. Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) impressed most, taking the best time.
The tone for the 2008 season was set from the outset on Monday. After an initial warm-up session held on a wet track, following heavy rain from the previous night, the action really heated up in the afternoon. Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who already had four Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 starts to his name, managed to come out on top, setting the time to beat at 1'32''656. Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy), third in the 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, was second quickest, just ahead of Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport), runner up in the 2007 French Formula Renault 2.0 championship. The Spaniard Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi 2) and Polish driver Kuba Giermaziak (Motorsport Arena) rounded off the top 5.
On Tuesday morning, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas continued to fight it out for top spot. Bottas took the session's best time with a 1''32'781, but he fell just shy -- by a mere 12 thousandths -- of Ricciardo's overall best time, set on Monday. Behind these two, new faces were challenging for the top positions as the Brazilian Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) took the third best time, in front of Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport) and Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Eukadi 2).
Daniel Ricciardo proved himself once again to be the man in form in the test's final session held on a very hot track, during which the lap times changed very little. The Australian can be satisfied with two days of solid practice, and leaves Valencia having made a strong impression with his turn of speed and consistency. Valtteri Bottas ended the two days in second spot, having also demonstrated a level of consistency that augurs well for the rest of the season.
These two were followed by Ramos, Dean Smith and Roberto Merhi, with little to choose between them.
With thirteen drivers separated by less than a second, this season looks like it will be very open once again and the pecking order is far from decided. All the teams took the two days of testing very seriously, so that they can gradually improve performance ahead of the season's opening weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in May.
The next collective test sessions will be held in Barcelona on March 26-27.