Bianchi wastes no time Just as at Zolder, it was a French rookie wildcard entry who clocked the best time in collective testing. Following in the footsteps of Tristan Vautier in Belgium, Jules Bianchi impressed at the Nurburgring. After his two...
Bianchi wastes no time
Just as at Zolder, it was a French rookie wildcard entry who clocked the best time in collective testing. Following in the footsteps of Tristan Vautier in Belgium, Jules Bianchi impressed at the Nurburgring. After his two victories at Ledenon in the French Championship last weekend, the SG Formula driver beat Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team) to the top spot. Once again, there was very little to choose between the drivers, 21 of whom finished within a second of each other!
Jules Bianchi is a genuine rookie, having moved straight from karting to Formula Renault 2.0. In the French Championship, Bianchi, grandson of Mauro, has made it on to the podium in four races out of four and climbed to the top of the overall standings after his double victory at Ledenon! In his first foray into the Eurocup -- the regulations allow wildcard entries up to three appearances -- Nicolas Todt's protege has once again wasted no time in showing his talent. Having clocked the third fastest time this morning, he then took the best overall time late in the day with 1'58''496. Not everything went to plan: just before his fastest lap of the day, Jules had a run-in with one of the Nurburgring's gravel traps as he sought to push his car to the limit. But the Frenchman can obviously be pleased with his day's work: "This morning was my first drive on this track. It's an encouraging sign for what lies ahead, but these are only tests. We don't know exactly who put on new tyres. We'll have a better idea tomorrow and especially in qualifying on Saturday."
Just 0.131 of a second behind the leader, Henki Waldschmidt showed why he is regarded as a contender for the title. But the Dutchman was not satisfied with his first day of testing: "We had a lot of trouble finding the right setup and I myself made several mistakes. To be honest, I haven't found the recipe for driving quickly here yet! Sure, I got the second-fastest time, but I don't think the level of performance we showed today will be enough for the rest of the weekend. We know what we can improve on, so we'll have to keep working tomorrow."
Eagerly awaited by the local crowd, the Motopark Academy team did not disappoint, with three drivers in the top 10: Fabio Onidi (3rd), Frank Kechele (6th) and Tobias Hegewald (7th). Kechele does not seem daunted by the prospect of racing on home soil; he is approaching this meeting like any other: "This is the first time I've driven on this great circuit. I kept improving throughout the day, but things still weren't perfect - I was still making a few mistakes. Tomorrow should be better. We've got a good car for the weekend, anyway."
In fifth place behind his teammate Brendon Hartley, Jaime Alguersuari also thinks the Espilon Euskadi team will have its say this weekend: "It was a strange day, because we thought our basic set-up wouldn't work on this track. We did a lot of work on the setup and changed a lot of things before we realized that actually it didn't work so badly after all, as we got the third fastest time this afternoon! We will continue to make minor adjustments tomorrow. We can be confident about the weekend ahead."
Mihai Marinescu (District Racing) bounced back after a difficult weekend in Zolder to finish in the top ten: "I was in the top three for a long time this afternoon. Towards the end, I made a few mistakes with my second set of fresh tyres. But despite that I think we'll be in with a chance."