First blood to Bottas Supported by his team, Motopark Academy, Valtteri Bottas set the tempo to finish comfortably ahead in collective testing at the Nurburgring circuit today. The Finn finished ahead of Roberto Mehri (Epsilon Euskadi) and...
First blood to Bottas
Supported by his team, Motopark Academy, Valtteri Bottas set the tempo to finish comfortably ahead in collective testing at the Nurburgring circuit today. The Finn finished ahead of Roberto Mehri (Epsilon Euskadi) and Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula).
The sky was threatening and the atmosphere wet as the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 competitors took to the track. All the drivers nevertheless opted to start on slick tyres with a few spectacular maneuvers marking the start of the session.
The holder of the fastest lap changed constantly during the first ten minutes. Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport), Luciano Bacheta (Hitech Junior Racing), Daniel Zampieri (BVM Minardi Team) and Andrea Caldarelli set themselves apart, taking it in turns to move to the top of the time sheet.
A newcomer to the circuit, British driver Dean Smith took control of the session with a lap time of 2'02''864. "I've never driven here." Smith mused, "This circuit is interesting, but it's difficult to take risks in these conditions. You really had to be careful because the track was quite tricky."
In the end, Andrea Caldarelli set the fastest lap of the morning with a time of 2'02''366. He finished ahead of Calos Munoz (Epsilon Euskadi) and Stephane Richelmi (Epsilon Sport), who were also making headway in the final few moments.
It is worth noting that Ricciardo (SG Formula) did not take part in this first session. The Australian received a penalty for driving in a Formula 3 Euro Series race at the Nurburgring, the national circuit, in July.
The conditions had improved at the start of the afternoon. Without wasting any time, Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy) improved on the fastest lap set that morning. As the minutes passed, Andrea Caldarelli, Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) and Daniel Ricciardo took it in turns hold the top spot.
Halfway through the session, Bottas appeared to have the upper hand, but Caldarelli hit back to take the lead in 1'59''323. Valtteri Bottas came back onto the track at the end of the session to improve on the fastest lap twice.
One final attempt right at the end of the session put him out of reach once and for all. With a lap time of 1'58''201, he was the fastest driver of the day in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. "I know the Nurburgring well and I love the circuit." said the Eurocup's flying Finn. "This morning we decided not to do too much driving as the conditions weren't good. We are taking part in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this weekend, so we won't be short of track time! I'm fairly confident, my time was good considering the conditions."
Roberto Merhi snatched the second fastest lap at the end of the session. "The gap is quite large with Bottas. That said, I didn't get a single lap without traffic. We still have work to do, but we're heading in the right direction." explained the Epsilon Euskadi driver.
Andrea Caldarelli finished third, just ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Tobias Hegewald, the only German driver present this weekend. "We've got a great car for the circuit. All that's missing now to take pole is a little performance, but we have a few ideas on how to change the car that way." said the Italian.