Czech up ahead With P1 Motorsport's Jan Charouz in the morning, and ISR's Filip Salaquarda in the afternoon, the Czech drivers were on form at Brno. Over two sessions, Filip Salaquarda set the fastest lap of the day, followed by countryman Jan...
Czech up ahead
With P1 Motorsport's Jan Charouz in the morning, and ISR's Filip Salaquarda in the afternoon, the Czech drivers were on form at Brno. Over two sessions, Filip Salaquarda set the fastest lap of the day, followed by countryman Jan Charouz. In third, Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin, leader in the Formula Renault 3.5 is lying in wait. With 13 drivers within one second of each other, the qualifying proved as close as they were crucial.
For the first time, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series takes place at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. The drivers took advantage of two 75-minute Collective Testing sessions to acclimatize to the switchback circuit. Replaced at Monaco by Alexander Rossi, Esteban Guerrieri, winner of the second race at Spa makes his return to Czech team ISR.
It was some fifteen minutes before the first fast laps were chalked up, starting with a time of 1'44"861 set by Mikhail Aleshin. The Formula Renault 3.5 Series leader set the pace for the session, placing himself squarely in top-spot when he set another flying lap of 1'44"619. However, racing on their home turf, the Czechs didn't fail to take advantage of their superior knowledge of the Brno circuit. First, Filip Salaquarda put on a show, lapping in 1'44"929, before the session was interrupted by spills from Pons Racing's Daniel Zampieri and Lotus Junior Racing's Daniil Move.
When the green flag was flown again, Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti quickly claimed his place at the top of the timesheet with a time of 1'43"955, but P1 Motorsport's Jan Charouz managed to go one better at the end of the session. Credited with a tile of 1'43"716, the Czech finished the first session of collective testing as leader. He was followed by Stefano Coletti, Comtec Racing's Jon Lancaster, Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo and P1 Motosport's Walter Grubmuller.
The second session started relatively calmly. The drivers were lining up long runs in order to prepare for the race, and Salaquarda led the dance with a lap time of 1'44"119 ahead of International Draco Racing's Julian Leal, followed by Daniel Zampieri and Esteban Guerrieri. A little after the session's half-way mark , Julian Leal left the track, causing the red flag to be flown.
At the restart, the ISR drivers continued their onslaught, followed by Salaquarda and Geurrieri. Salaquarda was the only one to improve on the time set by Charouz at the end of the morning session, lapping in 1'43"322, but once again the red flag came out after Epsilon Euskadi's Keisuke Kunimoto left the track.
The final run of the day was once again interrupted by the red flag when Tech 1 Racing's Brendon Hartley clipped the tirewall on turn number 4. At the end of the two sessions, Filip Salaquarda finished the day in first place ahead of Jan Charouz et Mikhail Aleshin.
Filip Salaquarda : "This morning we didn't use new tyres, we were more interested in the settings for our car. This afternoon, I noticed that to begin with we were running quite well on used tyres, and it was even better on brand new rubber. There'll be a lot of people here to support us this weekend, I'm really hoping for a good result here."
Jan Charouz : "it's great to see the Czech drivers doing well! I didn't have a lot of luck this afternoon, as the red flags prevented me from driving a flying lap. However, we're confident, the car is on top form, and we are going to put opn a show for our public, who I'm hoping are going to be out in force."
Mikhail Aleshin : "We've worked really hard. I know the circuit, and so does my engineer, so we know which way to attack it. The car is really on form here. We were already driving faster the the Auto GP, so I'm hoping that we can go faster still."