Collective testing – Barcelona – Day 2
Day two of collective testing got off to a gentle start on a wet track. Everyone waited until the afternoon session to put on new tyres and go after good lap times. Brazilian Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) ended the day ahead of Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport), who has been among the pacesetters since the start of these test sessions. Tomorrow is the last day before everyone meets up again in Monza at the end of the month.
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers were greeted with a wet on Wednesday morning. The session's first action saw Mario Romancini (Epsilon Euskadi) crash off the track, seriously damaging his car in the process.
Drivers had little choice but to use their wet tyres for a large part of the morning. The pace of the track gradually improved, enabling the best time to be bettered by several drivers. Fabio Carbone, Alexandre Marsoin (Epsilon Euskadi), Alvaro Barba (Pream Powerteam), Bertrand Baguette (Draco Racing), Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com), Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing), Claudio Cantelli (Ultimate Signature), Maximo Cortes (Pons Racing), Miguel Molina (Prema Powerteam) and Giedo Vvan der Garde (P1 Motorsport) all took turns to hold top spot.
Alvaro Barba was the first to opt for slick tyres, a move that produced immediate results. With a lap of 1'37''776, he was more than five seconds quicker than everyone else. The lead then changed hands several times, interspersed with interruptions to the session due to a few minor incidents and crashes. With a lap timed at 1'34''958, Giedo Van de Garde ended the morning session with the best time, despite running off on his last flying lap, an incident which brought the session to a close. Marco Barba held second spot ahead of Marcos Martinez and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport).
The track had completely dried out by the time the afternoon session got underway. Most drivers opted to put together long series of laps. With a time of 1'34''472, Robert Wickens set the early pace, ahead of Carbone and Van der Garde. Alvaro Barba then set the top time, but was rapidly dislodged from top spot first by Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and then by Giedo Van der Garde.
As the afternoon drew to a close, it was time to put on new tyres. Fabio Carbone left everyone in his trail to set the fastest lap with a time of 1'33''500. Several drivers were out on track at that stage, all looking to better Carbone's time. Unfortunately, Salvador Duran spoiled the party by crashing off, obliging Race Control to bring out the red flag. Carbone thus leads the standings at the end of day two, ahead of Van der Garde and Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport).
With Formula Renault 3.5 newcomers Ultimate Signature, Fabio Carbone was all too pleased with today's performance: "This was my first real test session, as we've had quite a few problems up to now. For a new team, it's really positive to be at the top of the standings. That shows our potential and the potential of the car."
Second-placed Giedo Van der Garde was disappointed not to get the most from his new tyres: "I was the quickest on used tyres, but I didn't improve my performance with the new tyres. The car has huge potential, however. We need to do some more work to get the most out of it.