STONEMAN GOES QUICKEST IN FIRST FORMULA RENAULT TEST Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) set the early pace by going quickest in all four sessions of the first official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship pre-season test...
STONEMAN GOES QUICKEST IN FIRST FORMULA RENAULT TEST
Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) set the early pace by going quickest in all four sessions of the first official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship pre-season test at Rockingham Motor Speedway on 24th/25th February.
Now in his second season after winning the Graduate Cup last year, the 18-year-old single-seater racer claimed the fastest time of the two-day session at 1min 14.837s (93.32mph average), an impressive 0.201s ahead of nearest rival Fortec Motorsport's James Calado (Cropthorne, Worcester).
Jordan Oakes (Hopton on Sea) of Eurotek Motorsport was third quickest of the two days with his best time of 1min 15.141s (92.94mph average) set during the morning session on day two.
Tuesday, 24th February saw competitors take to the 1.94-mile Northamptonshire circuit in dry conditions. Stoneman went quickest in the opening session with team-mate Isa Yousif (Southampton) coming in next with a time of 1min 16.219s (91.62mph average). Stoneman continued to impress in the afternoon session heading the timesheets with Oakes, Manor Competition's Thomas Hylkema (Netherlands) and CRS Racing debutant driver Lewis Williamson (Billericay) the other front runners.
The first day also saw cars from the sister Formula Renault BARC Championship join the Formula Renault UK competitors with Welch Motorsport's Kourosh Khani the leading driver of the day with a time of 1min 17.488s (90.12mph average).
On the second day, exclusively for drivers registered for the Formula Renault UK Championship, Stoneman once again led the first three-hour session ahead of Calado, Oakes and Graduate Cup driver Harry Tincknell (Sidmouth) in the CRS Racing car. Tincknell's strong showing made up for a disappointing first day that saw him complete just a handful of laps before an early crash ended his participation.
The afternoon session saw Stoneman unable to better his early time but still lead the field despite completing just a handful of flying laps. Behind him Calado couldn't match Stoneman for pace while Graduate Cup driver Will Stevens (Oxshott, Surrey) of Fortec Motorsport and team-mate Fredrick Blomstedt (Sweden) finished an impressive third and fourth respectively in the final session.
Commenting after the first of five pre-season tests, Stoneman said: "Tuesday's session went well but the data from the car showed I was losing time on the last chicane [Brook]. On the second day I worked hard on my braking to make up the time I was losing but without using unnecessary laps as I'm conscious of preserving my tyres for later in the season."
He added: "I'm feeling quietly confident about my chances for the championship title, especially as I've also gone two-tenths quicker at previous tests at Brands Hatch and sixth-tenths quicker at Thruxton, although I'm well aware that testing is one thing, racing is another."
The second two-day test takes place on 3rd/4th March at Kent's Brands Hatch Indy circuit, which will host the opening two rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship on Sunday, 5th April.
-credit: frenault uk