En-Garde for Giedo
Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) once again finished at the top of Formula Renault 3.5 Series standings. With the best performance in both sessions, the Dutchman is clearly man in form at the start of this season. Charles Pic (Tech1 Racing), who recorded the second fastest time of the day, is obviously learning quickly about this category. Rain fell in the afternoon, interrupting everyone's hard work at the end of the second session.
The first session of the day got off to a flying start. The drivers were out to set fast times as soon as the green flag was shown. Giedo Van der Garde grabbed first place with a time of 2'03''379. Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec) then managed to dislodge the Dutch driver with a time of 2'02''678, even faster than that set by Van der Garde yesterday. Guillaume Moreau (KTR), Bertrand Baguette (International Darco Racing) and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) completed the top five.
After a lively first session, all the drivers lapped then entered the pits before the morning's final assault. Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) got things going, seizing second place. Giedo Van der Garde followed by taking his preferred place - first - with a lap of 2'02''363. The Formula Renault 3.5 Series is clearly getting quicker and quicker.
Before the session was interrupted when Maxim Cortes (Pons Racing) went off the track, Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing), who is racing at Spa-Francorchamps for the first time, stole second place ahead of local driver, Bertrand Baguette. Pablo Sanchez (Interwetten.com Racing Team), another Rookie, also produced a fine performance to finish fourth, ahead of Bonanomi.
"Yesterday morning, I did a lot of driving to familiarize myself with the circuit." explained Pic. "Next, we did a lot of work on data acquisition so that I could start improving. We had enough time overnight to make the changes, so everything went alright this morning. I'm happy with the times, but I need to turn them into results in qualifying. This afternoon we're working in preparation for the race."
At the start of the afternoon, the second session of the day was dedicated to improving the set-up of the single-seaters for the weekend's races. Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) took control. The Spaniard Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) produced the fastest lap of the afternoon with 2'02''863. At this point, Giedo Van der Garde decided to shut out the competition. The leader of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series turned in the fastest lap of the session with 2'02''861, just before the rain fell, stopping the rest of the pack in their tracks.
This left Giedo Van der Garde as the fastest man during these two days of collective testing, and means he is confident for qualifying tomorrow: "The car is performing well, we're just getting on with business. Now I need to concentrate on qualifying and try to keep up my momentum."
The second best time overall belonged to Charles Pic. The Frenchman finished ahead of Bertrand Baguette. The driver backed by the Royal Automobile Club de Belgique was obviously right up there at his home event.
On Saturday, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers will try for the first time for a place in the SuperPole.