Old hands show their class

After Giedo van der Garde (Cram Competition) yesterday, today it was Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Comtec) who came out on top at the Valencia circuit. The Italian set the fastest time of the day in the morning session. Van der Garde and Moreau (KTR) dominated proceedings in the afternoon.

This second day of testing saw a number of changes to the driver line-up. Some of the most notable additions were Marco Bonanomi with Red Devil Comtec, Guillaume Moreau with KTR, Miguel Molina with Prema Powerteam, and Dani Clos with Pons Racing. Meanwhile, the only rookie on show was 17-year old Spaniard Victor Garcia, who teamed up with Epsilon Euskadi.

The drivers took to the track at 9.30 a.m., with weather conditions similar to yesterday. Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) quickly set a time to beat, dipping under the 1'23'' mark. An hour into the session, Pippa Mann (Cram Competition) caused a sensation with a lap timed at 1'22''429. Shortly afterwards, Bertrand Baguette (Draco Racing) bettered her time, but the performance of the day belonged to Bonanomi, who beat Molina's circuit record (2006) with a time of 1'21''857.

In the closing minutes of the morning session, Charles Pic clinched second place. He was followed by Dani Clos and Giedo van der Garde, the latter of whom saw his three best times discounted for driving outside of the track boundaries.

When the action resumed in the afternoon, the track was noticeably quicker. Shortly after 4 p.m., Guillaume Moreau claimed top spot on the timing screens with a lap timed at 1'22''316. Once again, Pippa Mann was up there with the leaders, lying in second place at this stageâ^a¦

Half an hour before the scheduled finish, most of the drivers stopped off for a fresh set of tyres. Moreau was the first to break the 1'22'' barrier, but a technical problem forced him to retire before the end of the session. Giedo van der Garde needed no further encouragement to reclaim the lead with a time of 1'21''968.

Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Comtec): "I'd only ever driven on this track in a F3000, but I'd already had some contact with this team during a test at Vallelunga. I clocked a good time this morning and this afternoon we focused on experimenting with the suspension setup in preparation for 2008. I hope to finish well tomorrow, as these are the last tests in the current Formula Renault 3.5."

Giedo van der Garde (Cram Competition): "I think the team and I have shown that we are capable of great things. My manager was here today with a view to agreeing terms for a second season in the championship."

Guillaume Moreau (KTR): "This was my first time on this circuit, which is very demanding both technically and physically. You never feel you can relax at any stage. It's a pleasure to be working with the KTR team again. Despite a minor technical problem we did some good work today."

Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing): "I didn't do much driving this afternoon as my gearbox broke when I crashed off."

Pippa Mann (Cram Competition): "I made a lot of progress during the 2007 season, thanks to the team, obviously, but also through working with Fairuz Fauzy. Things are going very well with Giedo too. It's good to be in the top 10, but I want to be higher still!"

-credit: wsbyrenault.com