All change at the top in Budapest 12/07/07 - Hungaroring - Collective testing - Thursday The first ever World Series Formula Renault 3.5 meeting at the Hungaroring got underway today with four hours of collective testing. Alvaro Barba (Draco...
All change at the top in Budapest
12/07/07 - Hungaroring - Collective testing - Thursday
The first ever World Series Formula Renault 3.5 meeting at the Hungaroring got underway today with four hours of collective testing. Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing) took the best time of the day, followed by Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi) and Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport). The favourites, Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) and Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing), finished outside the top ten.
For some drivers, driving at the Hungaroring was not a totally new experience: Fairuz Fauzy, Clivio Piccione and Marco Bonanomi had all had previous outings on this track in the GP2 Series or the F3000 Pro Series.
Indeed, it was Marco Bonanomi who dominated the morning session. An hour in, the Italian recorded the first sub-1'35" lap of the day, before snatching back the lead from Bertrand Baguette in the dying minutes of the session. Marco put in a good performance this afternoon too, clocking the third-fastest time, and he is optimistic for the rest of the weekend: "It's been a good day, we're ready for the next stage now. I'm happy with my time, considering the tyres we used. It was good to come here with some knowledge of the track, but I think that after four hours of testing everyone is at the same level now."
Having finished second this morning, Bertrand Baguette was unable to take part in the afternoon session due to brake trouble: "The team's going to replace everything tonight! Whatever happens, I think it'll be a good weekend for KTR, as Guillaume Moreau is also in the top ten. Fortunately, we've got two 45-minute sessions left tomorrow to fine-tune our set-up."
In the early afternoon, Filipe Albuquerque was the first to go past Bonanomi's fastest time of the morning. "The fact that I raced in GP2 last week helped me to get into the swing of things quickly today. I concentrated on getting to know the circuit, and we're progressing step-by-step."
Midway through the session, Alvaro Barba set the best time of the day with 1'33''100, but he is playing down his success: "It's nice, but getting the best time on the Thursday is not really that important. "We've still got a lot of work to do on our setup tomorrow. I'm not thinking about winning. The most important thing is to do well in qualifying. That's where I've made a lot of mistakes in the last few races. I hope things go better here, as it's very difficult to overtake on this circuit."
The fourth-fastest time went to Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), closely followed by Miguel Molina, who once again showed evidence that Pons Racing are on their way back to the top. His teammate Carlos Iaconelli finished seventh: "Hopefully I'll be able to keep fighting for a place in the top 6. We've been working well, the car is in good shape, and we can realistically aim for the podium."
Fourteenth and twenty-first respectively, Alvaro Parente and Sebastian Vettel no doubt wanted to keep their cards close to their chest. Parente's attempts to clock a good time at the end of the session were hindered by a number of red flags, caused notably by a collision between Clivio Piccione and Alessandro Ciompi. Sebastian Vettel also crashed off in the closing minutes: "Fortunately there's not much damage to the car. It's not the best day I've ever had. Things didn't go to plan.