Jean-Eric Vergne is ready! Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) threw down the gauntlet to his fellow Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers today at Jerez, pulling out the fastest absolute time of the two days of collective testing. Four...
Jean-Eric Vergne is ready!
Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) threw down the gauntlet to his fellow Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers today at Jerez, pulling out the fastest absolute time of the two days of collective testing. Four Rookies monopolized the first four places again, with Nathanael Berthon (International Draco Racing) second, ahead of Stefano Coletti (Comtec Racing) and Daniel Zampieri (Pons Racing).
The conditions were perfect for this second day of collective testing at the Jerez circuit. Today saw Pastor Maldonado join the SG Formula crew, while Brendon Hartley (Tech 1 Racing) arrived back form Bahrain with a busy program to get through. Still handicapped by his hand injury, Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing) confined his testing to a short run this morning to work on finding the right driving position.
No preliminaries this morning, with all drivers out as soon as the green light gave the signal. New tires were in evidence from the early stages. However, interruptions came after spin-offs by Filip Salaquarda (ISR), Federico Leo (Pons Racing) and Pastor Maldonado. Federico Leo was able to get back underway, but for Salaquarda and Maldonado the incidents marked the end of the day on track. Battle for first was between Daniel Zampieri, Nathanael Berthon and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin). Nathanael Berthon lapped in 1'29''525 to take the upper hand and better yesterday's best lap time. At this point he led from Daniel Zampieri and Mikhail Aleshin. But another Frenchman wanted some limelight too.
After multiplying the runs on used tires in the early part of the session, Jean-Eric Vergne set out on new rubber one hour before the chequered flag and was soon topping the timing screens (in 1'29''212). At exactly the same time, Greg Mansell succeeded in climbing into fifth position. The session was interrupted once again due to an oil leakage from Keisuke Kunimoto's car (Epsilon Euskadi). With track temp. up to 22o.C as the morning drew to a close, the drivers eased up, waiting for the afternoon session. The positions would remain the same.
With the ambient temperature still remarkably warm, the teams opted to work under race conditions in the afternoon. Jean-Eric Vergne himself completed a race simulation of over thirty laps. P1 Motorsport drivers, Jan Charouz and Walter Grubmuller, held first and second places for most of the session.
Then, in the last half hour, several drivers donned fresh tires. Brendon Hartley, Stefano Coletti and Sergio Canamasas (ISR) all took relays on top of the timing charts. Credited with a lap time of 1'29''584, Stefano Coletti upped the pace and took over the lead, while Nelson Panciatici climbed into second. Then Nathanael Berthon and Anton Nebilitskyi got themselves into the mix between Coletti and Panciatici. But just like in the morning, Jean-Eric Vergne struck the killer blow at the end of the session. The SG Formula driver claimed the best absolute lap time of the two days. Team and drivers will meet again in Motorland Aragon for the last collective testing sessions before the season's racing kicks off.
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I did a race simulation this afternoon. That's good, because it's been a while since I put so many laps together. In both sessions, I set my lap time with just one quick lap. So I've adapted well to the fresh tires. We just need to work on the light aerodynamic configuration and the pit stops, and we'll be all ready to go."
Mikhail Aleshin: "I'm very happy to be back to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, in a real race car, with Carlin. It's a very good team. Our aim is the fight for the title this season."
Jan Charouz: "Since I first got behind the wheel of this car, I've been making progress constantly. It's nothing like an LMP1, so I need more time to be at 100%. I'm here to learn this season. I'd love to do something at home in Brno!"