EU 2.0: Series Silverstone test notes 2008-06-05

Valtteri Bottas quickest off the mark With his confidence running high, Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) has started the Silverstone meeting in the best possible manner by clocking the fastest time on the first day of collective testing. The...

Valtteri Bottas quickest off the mark

With his confidence running high, Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) has started the Silverstone meeting in the best possible manner by clocking the fastest time on the first day of collective testing. The Finn was followed by British driver Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport) and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader, Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula).

The sun was shining as the forty-two Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 competitors turned out at Silverstone for today's two sessions of collective testing.

Fresh from his two Formula Renault 2.0 NEC wins at Zandvoort last weekend, Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) set the pace early on. BVM Minardi Team's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Cesar Ramos were also looking in menacing form.

With a little under half an hour gone, Bottas stepped up the pace and reclaimed the lead with a lap timed at 1'50''008. The Finnish driver would repeatedly improve on this time, eventually whittling it down to 1'49''113.

Daniel Ricciardo, who held the second fastest-time at that point, wasted no time in hitting back and snatching first place. But, as is so often the case, it all came down to what happened at the end of the session. Valtteri Bottas went back on the offensive and once again took the lead with a time of 1'48''236, while Roberto Mehri climbed to second, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Nelson Lukes (SG Formula) and Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport).

The day's second session would see the drivers improve their times significantly. Daniel Ricciardo was the first man to beat Bottas's time from session 1. The whole field immediately pushed hard and the standings changed lap by lap. Valtteri Bottas, Himar Costa (Iquick), Cesar Ramos (BVM Minardi Team), Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (BVM Minardi Team), Stephane Richelmi (Epsilon Sport) and Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport) took turns in the lead.

On fresh tyres, Valtteri Bottas was unstoppable. His lap time of 1'46''613 was more than half a second quicker than the best effort of second-placed Dean Smith. Daniel Ricciardo finished third, followed by Roberto Mehri and Stephane Richelmi.

Valtteri Bottas: "Like pretty much everyone else, I've never driven here before, so at the start I focused on familiarizing myself with the track. I forced myself to take the fast bends quickly, and that helped me grow in confidence. Those bends are where you can gain valuable seconds. We've got a good setup for clocking a fast time on fresh tyres, now we have to work on our race setup."

Dean Smith: "This is the first time I've driven on the Grand-Prix circuit. When I raced here in Formula Renault 2.0 UK we used a shorter track, which was quite different. Things are going a lot better than at Spa-Francorchamps. We're learning fast and hopefully we'll get a good result this weekend. It's an important meeting for us, but the last thing we need to do is put too much pressure on ourselves."

Stephane Richelmi: "I like this track. At the start it takes a lot of effort to get a good time in, but once you've got the hang of it's a really enjoyable drive. We've got a good basic setup. It's an encouraging start to the weekend, especially as I feel we can still get better."

-credit: wsbyrenault.com

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Dean Smith , Daniel Ricciardo , Adrian Quaife-Hobbs , Stéphane Richelmi , Cesar Ramos , Valtteri Bottas