Perera already out front
Called in by the Interwetten.com team to replace Eric Salignon, it has not taken Franck Perera long to get to grips with the Formula Renault 3.5. The French driver set the fastest time in collective testing ahead of Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing), who is right up in the vanguard of those fighting for the title as the season draws to a close.
It seems to be becoming a bit of a tradition: as soon as the number 27 car takes to the road, it seems almost unstoppable. Behind the wheel, Alx Danielsson seems to be bristling with confidence that is simply unshakeable! He proved it again this morning by setting the fastest time in the opening session of collective testing with a margin of more than 4/10ths over Milos Pavlovic (Draco Multiracing USA). "We have clearly got the setup right", the Swede observes. "Admittedly, we were unable to consolidate our position this afternoon as all my runs on new tyres were interrupted by red flags. But I think that we have got the car just right for qualifying. This weekend promises to be full of ups and downs. Something unexpected always happens in World Series races! I am going to have to attack without making the slightest mistake. I think I let the title slip away from me long ago, but I've got to keep on fighting if I want to finish the season on a high."
In the second 45-minute session, it was the turn of Franck Perera to show what he was capable of by setting the best overall time, bettering Danielsson's time by just 16 thousandths of a second. A pretty impressive start for the Frenchman: "I want to make a comeback for the 2007 season by taking part in either the World Series or GP2 once again. This is the category that interests me most, as there is a positive and friendly atmosphere here. The car is similar to that used in GP2, but it's pretty different to drive. I think it must be easier to make the move from an F3 to an FR 3.5 than from a GP2 to an FR 3.5. I spent the whole first session familiarizing myself with the car before trying to push it a bit harder this afternoon. We'll see how things go tomorrow, but I'm completely devoted to the objective of helping Interwetten.com to take both titles."
In the Austrian team's garage, Andy Soucek wasn't really looking up for the big occasion despite going fourth fastest: "I have to win here this weekend but I'm a little off the pace for the time being. Fortunately, Franck is going well and perhaps we can work well together this weekend. There's no pressure on me. I'm just motivated to do well: I'm going to do my best to win the races here this weekend. For the points and the championship, we see what happens further down the line."
Of the other title hopefuls, Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport) now sees things in quite a different light since having his win in Spa-Francorchamps reinstated: "Since this morning, I'm fourteen points better off, I'm leading the Championship and that makes all the difference. I can simply control proceedings and am not obliged to go for the win at all costs."
At Draco Multiracing USA, Pastor Maldonado remains calm going into the final showdown: "It's important to stay calm and focussed. We are ready for qualifying tomorrow morning. We didn't use our new tyres today, which explains why we're slightly off the pace."
In addition to Perera, three other drivers made their World Series debuts today. The 2005 British FR 2.0 Champion and British F3 Runner-Up, Oliver Jarvis replaces Hayanari Shimoda at Victory Engineering. Eurointernational's two cars will be driven by Alberto Valerio and the Catalonian driver Nil Montserrat.