Alexander Rossi takes his turn to shine
Yesterday it was all Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Comtec Racing). But today it was the turn of Alexander Rossi (ISR) to show what he is capable of in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The American set the fastest lap of these first two days of testing, despite attempts by Brendon Hartley (P1 Motorsport) to go faster at the end of the morning session. Daniel Zampieri (BVM Target) set the fastest time of the second session, though was not able to better the time set by Alexander Rossi. It does however prove that BVM Target, the latest addition to the team line-up in the category, is already well up to speed.
There were a number of changes to the list of entrants for this second day of Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing at the Motorland Aragon circuit. The line-up for the day at International Draco Racing consisted of Stephane Richelmi and Cesar Ramos. Not in attendance yesterday, Jean-Eric Vergne was back driving for Carlin today, the team which took him to the British F3 International Series this season. Sergey Afanasiev joined forces with Nathanael Berthon at Tech 1 Racing. Junior Lotus Racing's cars were in the hands of Dean Stoneman and Dominic Storey, while Will Stevens and Genis Olive were with Epsilon Euskadi. Max Snegirev got his first drive with Fortec Motorsport, while Fabio Onidi switched to ISR for his second day of testing in the category. Finally, as in Barcelona, it was the two Ferrari Driver Academy drivers, Mirko Bortolotti and Daniel Zampieri who took to the track for BVM Target.
Though the sun was still shining, the ambient temperature was barely scraping above to 10o.C at the start of the morning. The drivers thus put in some long runs to get their tyres and cars up to temperature. Brendon Hartley lost no time in setting the early pace with a lap in 1'43''476. But, in a repeat of yesterday, Alexander Rossi and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs still wanted to have their say. The American stamped his authority on the session with a lap in 1'43''298. He was then the first to move onto fresh rubber and complete a lap in 1'42''798. Brendon Hartley responded with a lap in 1'42''938, on worn tyres. He switched to fresh tyres as the morning session drew to a close, but was unable to improve on Alexander Rossi's fastest time.
A lot more hard work was put in the afternoon session, the majority of which was again dominated by the same four drivers, with Anton Nebilitskiy ahead of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Alexander Rossi and Brendon Hartley. But all that was to change towards the end of the day when Daniel Zampieri took things by the scruff of the neck ahead of Stéphane Richelmi. With a lap in 1'43''072, the Italian was however unable to go quicker than Alexander Rossi, though he can still be satisfied to have set the fastest time in the second session of the day. BVM Target, the newcomers to the category, thus already appear to be on the right track.
Alexander Rossi: "I have already finished second or third in a session a few times. This morning we got everything right and that earned us the fastest time. We are consistent and quick, we are working well together and I really like this car. I'm also getting to know Motorland Aragon and it's a really nice circuit. These tests have only confirmed our opinion of ISR. If we are going to take part in the FR 3.5 Series in 2011, then it will be with ISR and no-one else."
Stephane Richelmi: "I'm preparing for next season, so it's good to get some kilometres under my belt. We drove with Tech 1 Racing yesterday, so as to be able to compare teams. Today I was driving alongside Cesar Ramos, who I am going to be contesting the Italian F3 title with this weekend! I have been gradually getting to grips with the Formula Renault 3.5. The carbon brakes and steering wheel-mounted gear shift were the two things that were the most difficult to get used to for me. I will be driving in FR 3.5 Series in 2011. After F3, I believe it's the best compromise."
Dominic Storey: "These two days have been interesting for me. It's a year since I was last behind the wheel of a race car, but I quickly found my feet again all the same. The Formula Renault 3.5 Series performs far better than any other single-seater than I have driven to date."
-source: renault sport uk