Molina on a roll!
After taking his first victory last week in Estoril, Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) has gone on to set the fastest time in collective testing at the Barcelona circuit. Tech 1 Racing put in a superb team performance with Julien Jousse and Alvaro Parente in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
There were two changes to the starting lineup for this final meeting in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5. Giorgio Mondini makes his comeback alongside Julian Theobald at Eurointernational, while Alberto Valerio steps in to take Charlie Kimball's place at Victory Engineering.
This morning, the track was still damp when the drivers got things underway for the first 45-minute session of the day. Lap by lap, a dry line then started to develop and the times started to come down with five minutes to go. Right at the chequered flag, the best time went to Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) then to Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing).
The sun then came out for the second session at the start of the afternoon. With ten minutes gone, Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) became the first driver to go faster than 1'34''. The session then came under the red flag for a long period while the marshals cleared Richard Philippe's (Fortec Motorsport) car from the track. After that, Miguel Molina and Alvaro Parente started to fight it out for the fastest time.
The Catalonian driver had the final word at the chequered flag putting in a lap in 1'32''886: "This morning I was going well on wet tyres, but I didn't manage to get a clear lap in on slicks. In the second session, we put in some good work and everything went perfectly. Obviously, it'd be a dream come true to repeat my victory in Estoril, but the competition is so stiff in this Championship that it's difficult to win more than one race a season. We'll just have to see what happens!"
By finishing in the top 10 in the last six races, Julien Jousse is the driver to have got the most points on the board since Donington. The Frenchman has confirmed he is still on good form by setting the second fastest time: "After the red flag came out, I switched onto a fresh set of tyres and was able to get two clear laps in. Despite the gap between me and Molina, I feel very confident about tomorrow."
The third fastest time went to Alvaro Parente, who also sounds optimistic about the rest of the weekend: "The car has been up to pace from the moment I took to the track. This afternoon, I wasn't able to make the most of my last set of new tyres. I still have to improve over the opening sector, but I think I have what it takes to perform well here this weekend."
In fourth, Guillaume Moreau (KTR) was clearly regretting having missed out on the chance to fight it out for the fastest time: "Valsecchi nearly came to a complete standstill out on the track. With Bertrand Baguette, we were so surprised to see him there that we nearly collided! That was when my tyres were really peaking and it prevented me from doing as well as I could have done."
The top five was completed by Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing): "The car is handling well and we are going to put in some more work to improve it even further. I hope to perform just as well in qualifying tomorrow." In sixth, Ben Hanley (Prema Powerteam) may also yet spring a surprise: "I was held back by all the red and yellow flags. I perhaps only managed to get three clear laps in today, but I don't see why that should put me out of the running for tomorrow."