Fernando Rees in control
The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Teams started their first winter test day in Valencia today. More than 30 drivers have the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive a World Series car. Overall, this first day has been a question of adaptation for many, with lots of new young faces and the teams getting back to work at the circuit in search of the best performances. Fernando Rees, in a Draco Multiracing USA car, topped the timesheets in both the morning and afternoon sessions.
The Valencia circuit took advantage of the summer break to carry out work on the track and it now features new kerbs. This change has made the track at least a second slower, but some drivers prefer the new layout.
Brazilian driver Fernando Rees has been the fastest driver so far in Valencia. The usual sunny weather in Valencia was replaced by dark grey skies, although the track remained dry throughout the day. Fernando really appreciated the chance to get back to work today with a new team: "The car has the same balance but I really enjoy the organization at Draco. It has been a pleasure to work with them"
Pastor Maldonado, testing for Epsilon Euskadi today, was also fast on this first day, almost matching Rees: these two were the only drivers to lap under 1'23". Reigning Spanish F3 champion, Andy Soucek put in an impressive drive during the afternoon session, only two tenths slower than Maldonado.
Once again, the equality in terms of ability among the drivers in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 was underlined with 12 drivers separated by less than a second. After a few weeks off, some of the 2005 drivers used the sessions as a warm-up, whereas the newcomers had some minor adjustment problems. By the end of the day, however, they couldn't complain, although several red flags were shown both in the first and second sessions. Mihail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), for instance, completed 390km: "In Russia everybody is watching this test with great expectation". Jerome D'Ambrosio impressed KTR Team Principal Kurt Mollekens a lot: "I have been impressed by his maturity. I'm sure that tomorrow, and with new tyres, he can be one of the fastest guys".
Antinucci (Victory Engineering) complained of a steering wheel problem, while Ben Hanley (Cram Competition) finished the day with electrical failure (7th overall).
Kostka (KTR) aims to stay in the Series. Today he finished 4th and tomorrow he will have a go with Epsilon Euskadi. Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) and Davide Valsecchi (Cram Competition) lapped consistently throughout the day, finishing in 5th and 6th respectively.
Robert Kubica and Adrian Valles, the 2005 winner and runner-up respectively, watched the test quietly. Kubica is expected to test tomorrow while Valles was giving a helping hand to his colleague and former teammate from 2003, Alvaro Barba (Pons Racing), who was particularly happy to finish in the top 8. Fabio Carbone (Eurointernational) and Colin Fleming (Carlin Motorsport) completed the top 10 positions.
More action to see tomorrow, Giedo Van de Garde for the Pons Racing team, and the Chinese ace Po Hang Lin (Eurointernational).