Strong show from Stefano Coletti Drivers in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series spent an extra day at the Brno circuit today taking part in a collective testing session. The teams worked on their cars' handling in order to prepare for the second ...
Strong show from Stefano Coletti
Drivers in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series spent an extra day at the Brno circuit today taking part in a collective testing session. The teams worked on their cars' handling in order to prepare for the second half of the season. Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti was the star of the show, taking full advantage of the sessions to the fastest lap ahead of Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin, and (ISR's) Esteban Guerrieri, the fastest driver in the afternoon session.
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers were taking a serious look at the season ahead during Monday's collective testing session at Brno. Organized to follow straight after the Czech round of the WSR, which played host to a crowd of some 60,000 fans, the session allowed the teams to concentrate fully on developing their cars.
In order to work on handling, the FHV Interwetten.com team called on Andy Soucek, test driver for F1 Virgin Racing. Busy at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, Comtec Racing's Greg Mansell did not take part in the testing sessions, while Jan Charouz also left during the afternoon to join the action at Le Mans, thereby only part in the morning session. With a high temperature and far from his usual form since Friday, Epsilon Euskadi's Albert Costa decided to throw in the towel after just a few laps.
On arriving at the circuit, the drivers discovered a wet track. The first few laps were therefore run on wet tyres. Fortec Motorsport's Sten Pentus, and Andy Soucek were locked in an early battle for top spot, but they were forced to wait nearly an hour to put slicks on and take the gloves off. Soucek opened the bidding with a lap time of 1'45"682 to show the drivers that their day's work had started.
With the track starting to fill up, Lotus Junior Racing's Nelson Panciatici, Jan Charouz and Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo were consistently at the top of the time sheet. With a lap time of 1'42"588, Panciatici came out on top, spending a large proportion of the session in top-spot. However, when the new tyres were brought out at the end of the morning, it was P1 Motorsport's Walter Grubmuller who lay down the gauntlet. His challenged was picked up by ISR's Filip Salaquarda, who showed he was on form with a lap time of 1'41"813.
Meanwhile, Stefano Coletti was waiting in the wings for the end of the morning session. The man from Monaco set a flying lap of 1'40"804, better even than Filip Salaquarda's pole time from Sunday. The end of the session was marked by a crash for Soucek while in the middle of a fast lap. Coletti therefore finished the morning in first place ahead of Mikhail Aleshin, Esteban Guerrieri, Filip Salaquarda and Jan Charouz.
The afternoon session was a more relaxed affair, punctuated by a few red flags. Walter Grubmuller was the first to set a significant time, but it was Fortec Motorsport's Jon Lancaster who, with a time of 1'42"445, spent the majority of the session at the top of time sheet. At the mid-point of the session, Coletti came out on fresh tyres and took the top slot with a time of 1'41"404. The last round of improvements was launched by Esteban Geurrieri, with a 1'41''343 lap. The session was interrupted shortly before the end, following a spin for Tech 1 Racing's Brendon Hartley. Thanks to his time from the morning session, Coletti would finish the day on top.
Stefano Coletti: "We were faster than the time for set for pole. It proves that we had a good car this weekend. We've also been unlucky. We worked really hard today, to prepare for Magny-Cours. I think we should be quicker there. I had to leave mid-afternoon, so I put my fresh tyres on fairly early on, but it was still fairly warm out there. It's very positive to have set the fastest time of the day. It means I can start the next meeting on the right foot."