Hanley glides through the barriers The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 opened the 65th Monaco GP meeting with a 45-minute free practice session. Many drivers spun off, caught out by the slippery track conditions. Ben Hanley (Prema Power Team)...
Hanley glides through the barriers
The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 opened the 65th Monaco GP meeting with a 45-minute free practice session. Many drivers spun off, caught out by the slippery track conditions. Ben Hanley (Prema Power Team) coped best with the low level of grip: the RDD driver recorded the session's best time ahead of Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing).
For several drivers, today's session was their first experience of the legendary Monaco circuit. Charlie Kimball (Victory Engineering), one of the Monaco debutants, described how he 'understood more clearly why the F1 drivers love to come here': "Monaco is an inner city circuit, but above all it's a good circuit, with quick and slow sections, chicanes, hairpins, and so on." For Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com), it was a dream come true: "I have talked a lot about the circuit with Juan Pablo Montoya, who explained where I'd find the pitfalls. But it was only once I was actually on the track that I could tell just how tricky it is!" Among the other newcomers, Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Michael Herck (Red Devil Comtec) both managed to complete their maximum allowed laps without making any mistakes.
Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi) was less fortunate, as he made a mistake going through Massenet with around ten minutes of the session gone. Richard Philippe (Fortec Motosport), who had stopped near to Albuquerque's car, ended up as the unfortunate victim of this incident when he was then hit by Ricardo Risatti (GD Racing). The session was red-flagged for a few minutes.
The rest of the session was littered with minor incidents which did not lead to any further interruptions. As the clock ran down, Fairuz Fauzy, Pippa Mann (Cram Competition), Pasquale di Sabatino (GD Racing), Alejandro Nu0x00f1ez (Red Devil Comtec), Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport) and Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com) all made costly errors.
Even Ben Hanley, the session's top driver, did not come away unscathed as he also spun his car! Despite his fine performance, the young Brit refused to get too carried away: "I was trying to stay on the track and complete as many laps as possible. It wasn't easy to get a clear run, but I managed to do just that five minutes from the end. The car is good, but the track is bound to change a lot between now and qualifying."
At the end, Alvaro Parente grabbed second spot: "It's positive, even if the track is still very slow. There will be a lot more grip on Saturday and we will have to take that into account. Qualifying will be decisive."
Third-fastest, Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) maintained his Nurburgring form. Confident in his cars' potential, Joan Villadelprat has set his drivers the target of a top 5 position in qualifying.
After disastrous weekend at the Nurburgring, Celso Miguez (Eurointernational) was all smiles again with the day's fourth best time. Unexpectedly, the Draco Racing drivers were both a little off the pace: Milos Pavlovic and Alvaro Barba could only manage 5th and 7th positions respectively.
Sixth-fastest, Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) was pleased with his performance: "What mattered most for me was to put a series of laps together to get to know the circuit. The track was incredibly slippery. It will be much better tomorrow afternoon." Gearbox problems left his teammate Mikhail Aleshin disappointed with his session.