Jean-Eric Vergne - just like home After setting the lap record for the Formula Renault 3.5 Series discipline on the Motorland Aragon circuit back in October, Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) confirms today by producing practically the same ...
Jean-Eric Vergne - just like home
After setting the lap record for the Formula Renault 3.5 Series discipline on the Motorland Aragon circuit back in October, Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) confirms today by producing practically the same performance. At the end of the first day of collective testing, the French driver leads from Nathanael Berthon (International Draco Racing) and Jan Charouz (P1 Motorsport).
Just as for Eurocup Megane Trophy and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the Motorland Aragon circuit is playing host to Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the final two days of collective testing before the season gets underway.
Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi), still suffering from his hand injury after the accident in Barcelona, is again forced to miss out. Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing), Red Bull F1 Team reserve driver, is also on duty in Melbourne for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Australian driver is replaced by Leonardo Cordeiro and Claudio Cantelli, the F3 SudAm champion and runner-up, who have both taken up the invitation from Red Bull Racing.
Team Interwetten.com Racing, who were absent from Barcelona and Jerez, complete the line-up with Euro F3 Open champion Bruno Mendez and Belgian driver Frederic Vervisch. Sergio Canamasas teams up with SG Formula, while Jon Lancaster, a race winner in last year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series, is back to the discipline with Fortec Motorsport.
The morning session got off to a quick start. Nathanael Berthon was soon on the pace. He went to the top of the timing screens and then improved on his provisional best time, lap after lap. With a 1'43''818 lap, the French driver led, ahead of Greg Mansell (Comtec Racing) and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), 2nd and 3rd at mid-session. Nathanael Berthon showed excellent form as he drove lap after lap, finally improving on the provisional best with a time of 1'43''512, while Federico Leo (Pons Racing) climbed into second and Victor Garcia (KMP Racing) into third.
The two leaders stayed where they were until the break. Half way through the day's testing, the pecking order showed Nathanael Berthon on top, ahead of Federico Leo, Walter Grubmuller (P1 Motorsport), Victor Garcia and Anton Nebylitskyi (KMP Racing). When the afternoon got underway, Keisuke Kunimoto (Epsilon Euskadi) and Jean-Eric Vergne took command.
As is often the case, drivers spent much of the afternoon practicing in race conditions. Jon Lancaster and Jean-Eric Vergne climbed to the top of the standings as the session entered the final hour of the day.
With the ambient temperature falling a little, the teams got ready to fit new rubber. Jan Charouz was first out with new tires. He moved into first with a lap time of 1'43''905. But Jean-Eric Vergne proceeded to pull out a series of fastest laps. With times of 1'43''524, 1'43''377 then 1'43''235, the Frenchman found himself firmly in the driving seat. Behind him, the fight for second was between Anton Nebylitskyi, Greg Mansell, Federico Leo and Jan Charouz. In the end, it was the Czech driver who took second. Tomorrow, for the final day of collective testing, all the drivers will be running with the light aerodynamic configuration.
Jean-Eric Vergne: "This morning we had a few problems that we sorted out. As we did in Barcelona and Jerez, we have proven our performance level. It's perfect that we were quick on the three different circuits. Tomorrow we'll be getting to grips with the light aero configuration, something completely new for us."
Greg Mansell: "I'm not physically on my best form, but what joy to work with Comtec Racing ! It's the first time in my career that I'll have run two seasons in the same discipline. It's an interesting experience. The level of competition is very high this year and consistency is going to be vital for success."
Bruno Mendez: "The Formula Renault 3.5 is a very different car from what I've been used to up to now. It's more powerful than an F3 for instance, with really high performance carbon brakes. I haven't yet signed up but I'm hoping to do so soon. After F3, I think it's a very logical step. This year the level is incredible."