Marco Barba outstanding on home territory
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers put in impressive laptimes today during this second day of collective testing at Valencia. James Walker (P1 Motorsport) was the early leader, winding up ahead of the pack after a morning session run at qualifying pace. The afternoon session saw Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) finally take control of events.
The drivers started the second day of tests with a few practice laps before shodding new tires. Then Greg Mansell (USR) put in a 1'22''514 lap, quicker than yesterday's reference time set by Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing), and made it clear it was time to get down to business.
Next in line to take command of the session was Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) in 1'22''285. Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport), Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) and Miguel Molina (USR) also entered the fray with new tires. None of them managed a quicker lap than Bertrand Baguette at this stage. That task was dealt with seconds later when Charles Pic recorded a 1'22''264 lap. But James Walker (P1 Motorsport) was not going to be content to let Charles Pic stay ahead. The driver from Jersey upped the stakes with a laptime of 1'22''023.
And the excitement wasn't over. Miguel Molina and Bertrand Baguette moved into second and third slots. Then Adrian Valles (Epsilon Euskadi) who had suffered gearbox trouble the day before, took to the track. With the Spanish driver's mechanical problems out of the way, he put in the third fastest time.
James Walker wound up on top, ahead of Miguel Molina, Adrian Valles, Bertrand Baguette and Charles Pic, at the end of a morning session driven in impressive qualifying mode. Fourteen drivers finished in the same second, which augurs well for a very open 2009 season.
Like Jaime Alguersuari, who ran a race simulation exercise, all the teams kicked off the afternoon session with different objectives. A few drivers still had new tires for the last half hour. Adrian Valles got the serious action underway. With a 1'22''028 lap, he was just 5/1,000ths off the pace set by James Walker at the end of the morning session. Immediately afterwards, Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing) went one better! In 1'22''018, he was now the day's leader.
Handicapped by brake trouble in the morning, Marco Barba still had a new set of tires. On home territory here in Valencia, he was set to outperform all his rivals. With the only lap in under 1'22, Marco Barba produced the best performance of the weekend, in 1'21''978, finishing ahead of fellow countryman Marcos Martinez over the two days of collective testing. James Walker finished third, ahead of Adrian Valles, Miguel Molina, Bertrand Baguette and Charles Pic. In eighth place, Oliver Turvey was best Rookie.
The next collective test sessions will be held in Barcelona on March 30-31.
Marco Barba: "We'd been encountering brake problems from the beginning of this morning. We changed quite a few things and the car was very good this afternoon. I went on the attack and I got the fastest time! I won my bet with Adriano Morini. At Jerez, like here in Valencia, we worked hard on the set-ups. We will concentrate more on the cars' behaviour in race conditions in Barcelona".
Greg Mansell: "I was unlucky with my second set of tires, because I let myself get caught up in traffic. We work really well with Miguel Molina. He's got lots of experience and we talk a lot and work out together what set-ups to choose. The team work is good. I'm making good progress with him".