Stefano Coletti takes his revenge on Spa Stefano Coletti (Comtec Racing), who had a bad crash here last year, gets his own back on the circuit by clocking the fastest time in collective testing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The man from ...
Stefano Coletti takes his revenge on Spa
Stefano Coletti (Comtec Racing), who had a bad crash here last year, gets his own back on the circuit by clocking the fastest time in collective testing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The man from Monaco today leads from Sten Pentus (Fortec Motorsport) and championship leader, Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing).
The competitors in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series face the challenge of Spa-Francorchamps and the notorious Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination as they meet up for the second meeting of the season. The weather forecast for the Ardennes is gloomy (it can happen!), but on Friday morning the track conditions are ideal.
As soon as the cars come out, drivers are taking Raidillon flat out and the lap times begin to drop. Nathanael Berthon (International Draco Racing) sets the tone in his first taste of Formula Renault 3.5 on the circuit. Lap times plunge and Daniil Move (Junior Lotus Racing) is the first to oust him from the top of the timing screens. Then it's Esteban Guerrieri (ISR) who takes over the top spot.
Stefano Coletti takes his turn in first place, followed by Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) with a 2'04''898 lap, who opens out a big gap on the rest of the field. As the drivers look to be launching a serious wave of quick laps, the session was halted for a few minutes following a crash by Daniel Zampieri (Pons Racing).
At the restart, Federico Leo (Pons Racing) and Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) showed their turn of pace. The Spaniard, unbeatable here last season in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, took control of the session with a time of 2'04''360. He then led from Julian Leal (International Draco Racing) and Federico Leo just as a few drops of rain made their appearance. But that didn't stop the pack shuffling toward the end of the session. Mikhail Aleshin finally set the fastest lap of the morning with a time of 2'02''972. The Russian led from Stefano Coletti and Nathanael Berthon.
A few spots of rain slightly disrupt the second session of the day. Nevertheless, it was on a completely dry circuit that Sten Penkus recorded his best time, putting him at the top of the leaderboard for most of the second session, ahead of Mikhail Aleshin, Daniel Zampieri and Stefano Coletti.
But, as is often the case, it was only in the last few minutes that everything got decided. Stefano Coletti got the ball rolling, recording the provisional fastest time of the day, 2'02''633. However, the efforts of all the other drivers were interrupted by Frederic Leo's crashing. The session started up again for the remaining five minutes. Stefano Coletti was the only one not to go out again, waiting in the pits, but no-one managed to strip him of his lead. The day ended with the man from Monaco in first place, in front of Sten Pentus, Daniel Ricciardo and Keisuke Kunimoto (Epsilon Euskadi).
Stefano Coletti: "Yesterday, when I walked round the track for a reconnaissance, I saw that the marks of my crash last year were still there! During my first lap, that was a little unnerving! But I love this circuit with its fast turns. Having got the fastest time today is the perfect start to a race. That shows we're competitive."
Sten Pentus: "My winning at Motorland created lots of noise in Estonia. It's really encouraging. I've confirmed today that we're still up there. We still have work to do, but the car is running well."
Daniel Ricciardo: "There was a lot of traffic at the end of the session! I'm not complaining because we're at the right end of the grid. I've won here in Formula Renault 2.0 and in F3, now my goal is to win in FR 3.5. I'm not giving a thought to my position as leader. I'm not point-counting, what I want to do is to win."