EU 2.0: Zolder test notes 2007-04-19

Vautier and Ambrosio crash the party Taking part in this round of the Eurocup on a one-off basis, Tristan Vautier called on all of Graff Racing's experience to set the fastest time of the day in collective testing. The young Frenchman went ...

Vautier and Ambrosio crash the party

Taking part in this round of the Eurocup on a one-off basis, Tristan Vautier called on all of Graff Racing's experience to set the fastest time of the day in collective testing. The young Frenchman went one better than JérÃ'me d'Ambrosio (Cram Competition), who makes his return to the category, again for one round only!

It is from now on that things start to get serious! After testing in Barcelona, at the Nürburgring and Le Mans, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 competitors are making their final preparations for the first meeting of the season. With six hours of track time under their belts, the 38 participating drivers have already had a chance to have a good look at Zolder.

This morning, Tristan Vautier showed his domination early on by setting the fastest time of 1'30''764. In the afternoon, the runner-up in the 2006 Formule Campus French Championship proved it was no fluke by improving on his own time with a lap in 1'29''348.

Seemingly unimpressed with his own performance, Vautier sounds determined to continue in the same vein for the whole weekend: "This morning I put in a lot of track time to get my setup right for the circuit, which is one of my favourites! We didn't use our new tyres, keeping them for the afternoon instead. Once I had built some confidence, things went very well on fresh tyres. The car was very good to start with but we have still had to put in a lot of work to get things right. I am very happy to be fastest at the end of the day but it shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, I am here to do the best I possibly can! I will still have to confirm my form in qualifying where I will need to put in two good laps with traffic out on the course."

The other strong performer of the day was JérÃ'me d'Ambrosio. After finishing third and second here in 2005, the Belgian makes a one-off return to the category: "I am going to be driving in the Formula Masters with Cram Compétition. Given that I have not set foot in a single-seater since off-season testing for the World Series last November, we thought it would be a good way of getting me back into shape, especially as the two cars are pretty similar. With its new aerodynamics kit, the Formula Renault 2.0 now performs even better than ever in fast bends. I hope to be on the podium this weekend and if things go my way maybe even finish in top spot! Then I would really like to get back into the World Series, even if only on an invitation basis. WSR is still really the category that I have my sights set on."

With the third fastest time, Robert Merhi (Jenzer Motorsport) put in his best performance yet in Eurocup collective testing. While driving in karting last season, the young Spaniard already got an initial taste of the Formula Renault 2.0 in the Winter Series in Vallelunga. After his first sortie at Zolder, Felix Porteiro's young protégé seems happy with his position: "It's a good start! Everything went well this morning and I stuck with the same tyres in the afternoon. Like the other teams, we waited until the closing stages to switch to fresh tyres. My lap wasn't perfect but the result is fair enough."

Another Jenzer Motorsport driver, Fabio Leimer, and SG Formula's Charles Pic complete the top five. All too well aware that its performance at this circuit has fallen short of expectations, the French team has been putting in intensive testing with its four cars in a bid to set the record straight. We can therefore expect to see a display of the team's true potential in free practice tomorrow.

One driver who will be disappointed with his day's performance is Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team), who suffered an engine failure after running wide. The man who looked to be one of the strongest contenders in off-season testing will therefore have to wait until tomorrow to show what he is made of.

-credit: renault

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Felix Porteiro , Fabio Leimer , Tristan Vautier
Teams Jenzer Motorsport