Bonanomi and Comtec on top After testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit two weeks ago, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 teams pursued their off-season test programme at the Vallelunga circuit. Marco Bonanomi (Comtec Racing) took the ...
Bonanomi and Comtec on top
After testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit two weeks ago, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 teams pursued their off-season test programme at the Vallelunga circuit. Marco Bonanomi (Comtec Racing) took the best time, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport), the latest driver to be confirmed for the 2007 entry list.
Thirty-eight drivers shared the track in thirty single-seaters throughout the two days of testing. On Wednesday, a series of heavy showers disrupted the two three-hour sessions. In between the rain and the multiple red flags, Alvaro Barba managed to set the best time (1'23''042) in one of Draco Multiracing USA's two Formula Renault 3.5 cars. "The result is even more satisfying given that I hadn't driven on this circuit before", declared the Spaniard. "When the track dried out, we were able to work on the setup. We have put in some good work with the team. I was able to take advantage of new tyres for three laps and then it started to rain again. Otherwise, I could have gone even faster."
Second fastest driver, Jerôme d'Ambrosio (Comtec Racing) confirmed the good form he showed at Paul Ricard: "Everything has gone perfectly since we started working together. I want the team to be pleased with my work. Comtec is an exceptional team and I want to race with them for the 2007 season! We'll see in the next few days if we can manage to flesh out an agreement."
On Thursday, the sun made a comeback, but conditions remained cool. The morning session was suspended for a long period after Dani Clos went off. The Spaniard was driving for RC Motorsport after having tested with Draco the day before: "The car was very good but I went off the racing line. At close to 250kph, I couldn't keep it on the track. Obviously, I am disappointed for the team."
The afternoon session was dominated for long periods by Sebastian Vettel. Confirmed at Carlin Motorsport since the start of the week, the third BMW Sauber F1 Team driver is excited to be back in the World Series by Renault: "It's not easy to juggle your time between F1, F3 and Formula Renault 3.5. The last time I drove this car was at Spa, in July! I could have gone a bit quicker, but that's not what off-season testing is really about. You have to be consistent in the first few tests and then try to improve the car."
At the end of the day, Marco Bonanomi (Comtec Racing) grabbed the best time (1'22''293), just 54/1000ths ahead of the German. The Italian had driven for the first time with the British team in Misano, in July this year, where they had already achieved a fastest time: "In Misano it was a bit strange! This time, we were thinking about the future while working together. Like Jerôme, I really like this team and would love to race with them in 2007."
Several drivers made their debut in an FR3.5 during the two days of testing. Eurocup Megane Trophy Junior champion Matthieu Lahaye (Tech 1 Racing) was among the new faces and was happy to be back behind the wheel of a single-seater: "I didn't mind the rain on day one as that gave me the opportunity to get used to the car. I worked hard on getting used to the brakes and overall, I felt comfortable. I just need to keep working." Julien Jousse, also in the French team, continued to make progress: "I'm pleased to have been up with the leaders fairly consistently, alongside the more experienced guys. And I didn't make any mistakes!"