Drivers dealt a new hand!
Last season's runner-up in British Formula Renault 2.0, Sean McIntosh seems to be totally in his element at Donington. That said, there has hardly been a drop of rain here today amidst the greenery of the English countryside. But that wasn't about to stop the Canadian driver from setting the fastest time!
Like in Spa and at the Nurburgring, the meeting only really got underway on Friday morning with two collective testing sessions for the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 drivers. Only 29 cars are taking part in the Donington meeting, as Pons Racing was unable to find anyone to sit in for Celso Miguez, in the wake of his move to Comtec Racing. Eurointernational will again be giving a chance to two new drivers to make their debut in WSR, namely Marcos Martinez and Richard Keen.
This morning, the first session provided Milos Pavlovic with the chance to show that he is a promising new talent for Draco Multiracing USA. Having held top spot on the timing screens for the opening fifteen minutes, the Yugoslavian hit back immediately when Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) snatched the best time away from him. In the space of two laps, Pavlovic set a time to beat which was nevertheless 6/10ths short of Felix Porteiro's record time set in 2005.
Clearly all the drivers were eagerly awaiting the second session to be able to move onto fresh tyres. Unfortunately, the session was disrupted by a series of incidents involving Hayanari Shimoda (Victory Engineering), Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com).
Sean McIntosh managed to make the most of the periods between stoppages to put in a clear lap and set the fastest time achieved by a Formula Renault 3.5 at this circuit: "Finally, I'm driving on a circuit that I know well! I won here last year in Formula Renault 2.0. We made a lot of improvements to the car between the two series and now it's paying off. But I know that that everything really depends on what happens tomorrow.""
Second fastest, Alx Danielsson also knows that he's in with a good chance on what is home territory for his team, Comtec Racing: "It was a bit mad out there, with people running off left, right and centre usually right in front of me on a blind corner! I put in my best lap very early on. I now know that our car is in excellent shape for qualifying tomorrow morning."
Danielsson's new teammate, Celso Miguez seems happy with his move to Comtec Racing: "It's a real pleasure to drive this car on this circuit which I particularly enjoy. My goal is to be in the top five tomorrow."
With the fifth fastest time, the South African Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) confirms the good form which earned him a seventh place at the Nurburgring: "I'm feeling more and more comfortable with the car all the time. If everything falls into place, a podium spot might just be within my grasp!"
Under the watchful eye of Damon Hill, Steven Kane (Epsilon-Euskadi) put himself up amongst the big guns right from the outset. Eighth fastest, the driver from Newtownards in Northern Ireland may be able to bring home some good results this weekend.
Back on the starting list after having missed out on the Nurburgring, Patrick Pilet has now joined forces with Tech 1 Racing: "It's good to be back behind the wheel, but I wasn't exactly lucky with all the stoppages today. It's difficult to get things done under such conditions, but I think the potential is there."