Molina and Pons impress at home
The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Teams have completed two days of testing in Valencia. After yesterday's session was dominated by Alvaro Barba and Comtec, today it was the turn of Pons Racing to come out on top as Miguel Molina finished ahead of the other 45 drivers taking part in the final off-season test of the year!
The Chinese driver Ho Pin Tung made his debut in the World Series with KTR. With no previous experience of the car, or of this track, he knew it was going to be a hard day: "To be honest, I was not expecting to perform that well. It is quite a decent time on a day where everything is to be discovered! Definitively, the World Series is a serious option for me!"
The second day of testing started under an ominous-looking sky and as the weather reports announced heavy rain, the teams opted to use fresh tyres from early in the morning. Yesterday, however, Alvaro Barba (Comtec) came very close to his best registered lap on used tyres. The times started to drop and after a while Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) took over in P1, commanding the session until the Russian Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) put in an impressive lap of 1.22.302. "We have carried out a good test here, but my car had some problems with the brakes and unfortunately I did not finish on top this afternoon."
Aleshin, Molina, Barba, Vettel and Van der Garde did not change positions, but there was a lot of traffic on the track during the last ten minutes. James Walker moved up to P6 and Albuquerque improved to P8. The Euskadi Epsilon Team Manager, Joan Villadelprat, who is already on his way to Barcelona, is happy with overall result: "Filipe Albuquerque has done a very good job. He gives a lot of data to the team and he is learning about the car. Both Filipe and Davide are very fast drivers, but we are working with regard to 2007 and are testing many new things on the car. Our regular position in the next championship must be between P1 and P3."
Rahel Frey produced a splendid performance, finishing the morning session in P19, while Pippa Mann struggled with clutch problems.
Bertrand Baguette had a successful half-day test with Tech 1: "Considering my limited mileage with this car I'm quite satisfied with the result. For sure, there will be a big fight this afternoon." Fellow Belgian Jerôme D'Ambrosio was in the garage with Team Comtec and hopes the British team will consider him as a potential driver for 2007.
The afternoon session started with an early red flag caused by Charlie Kimball, whose car span on turn 17. Alvaro Barba (Comtec) restarted on top, but Miguel Molina replied to set the best lap time. Sebastian Vettel (Carlin) then set a fast time, relegating Barba to P3. The other Carlin driver, Mikhail Aleshin, who dominated the morning session, was also regularly amongst the fastest drivers. Alessandro Ciompi (Cram) caused a red flag when he was in P7. Ben Hanley progressed well, finishing his test with GD Racing only 0.6 seconds off the top time.
Finally, the 17 year-old Miguel Molina tore up the record book to set the new time to beat at the new track of Valencia: 1.21.954: "We have done a good job and I knew already that we could do it yesterday. I made no mistakes and I have my reward. For a driver, the last good result is what always counts!"
Van der Drift and Clos met in the RC Motorsport garage for a face to face in the World Series. The New Zealand ace seemed to feel more comfortable after Borja Garcia helped the team with the right setup. "It is strange. This afternoon, I had discovered a completely new car! I felt like I have started from scratch. Now I'm heading to Indonesia for an A1GP race!"