Monza – Collective testing
The twenty-six brand new Formula Renault 3.5 Series cars took to the track at Monza today for the first collective testing session of the season. Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) got off to a fine start, claiming the best time in both sessions. Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam) clocked the second-fastest time, with Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) in third. The top 5 was completed by Julien Jousse (Tech1 Racing) and Marco Barba (International Draco Racing). Things get serious tomorrow in the season's first qualifying session, but already, these guys are looking primed and ready for action! With two three-hour sessions, the 26 Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers had ample time to get to grips with the Monza circuit in their new cars. German driver Julian Theobald, who will race with Fortec Motorsport, became the final addition to the driver line-up.
So far, so good for Giedo Van der Garde! The Dutchman was in impressive form, finishing both sessions at the top of the timing screens. With consistently quick times on old and new tyres alike, Van der Garde's race preparations couldn't have gone better. «We've done a lot of work on our race setup. Everything's going great so far: our car is performing well - and consistently, which is the most important thing. Of course, these are only tests, but this proves that we're moving in the right direction and that we are a force to be reckoned with". With times of 1'36''484 this morning and 1'36''016 in the afternoon, Van der Garde has established himself from the word go as a man to beat.
Alvaro Barba, too, is in confident mood after clocking the second-fastest time overall in a polished performance . "We were at the Paul Ricard HTTT earlier in the week, and we found out some important things that helped us find an effective set-up. That work has obviously paid off as we were in the leading group today. I think everyone will go faster still tomorrow, not least my teammate Miguel Molina, who started with a different setup today."
Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette also hit his stride from the off, continuing his good form from the collective testing session in Barcelona. Just like all the other leading contenders, the International Draco driver split the day into two parts: "We were on old tyres for most of the day, then at the end of the day we focused on qualifying, because the conditions will be the same tomorrow. The car is well balanced; I managed to repeat my time consistently, which is ideal. The first day of the championship is always important. You wonder where you're going to finish, and it's important for your confidence to get off to a good start."
Fourth-placed Julien Jousse also lived up to his billing as one of the potential favorites, with reigning champions Tech 1 Racing. "It was a good afternoon's work. We tried out lots of things. There are still things we need to find out about the car, particularly on this circuit, which requires a very specific aerodynamic setup. I like this track - last year I clocked some good times here in my first race. This year I have to build on that and start the season well. We're pretty relaxed; we're not putting any pressure on ourselves."
Friday begins with a 45-minute collective testing session in the morning before the first qualifying session of the season gets underway late in the afternoon.
Pos No Cl Drivers Nat Team Best L. Gap Km/h 1 21 . VAN DER GARDE Giedo NED P1 Motorsport 1:36.016 32 217.201 2 10 . BARBA Alvaro ESP Prema Powerteam 1:36.125 39 0:00.109 216.955 3 3 . BAGUETTE Bertrand BEL International DracoRacing 1:36.203 36 0:00.187 216.779 4 1 . JOUSSE Julien FRA Tech 1 Racing 1:36.469 39 0:00.453 216.181 5 27 . CARBONE Fabio FRA Ultimate-Signature 1:36.547 33 0:00.531 216.007 6 4 . BARBA Marco ESP International DracoRacing 1:36.547 27 0:00.531 216.007 7 25 . BONANOMI Marco ITA Red Devil Team Comtec 1:36.578 40 0:00.562 215.937 8 26 . DISABATINO Pasquale ITA Red Devil Team Comtec 1:36.656 33 0:00.640 215.763 9 15 . MARTINEZ Marcos ESP Pons Racing 1:36.828 37 0:00.812 215.38 10 5 . ALESHIN Mikhail RUS Carlin Motorsport 1:36.859 29 0:00.843 215.311 11 23 . WALKER James GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:37.031 41 0:01.015 214.929 12 19 . DURAN Salvador MEX Interwetten Com Racing 1:37.047 21 0:01.031 214.894 13 11 R ALCARAZ Aleix ESP RC Motorsport 1:37.109 35 0:01.093 214.757 14 20 R SANCHEZ Pablo MEX Interwetten Com Racing 1:37.156 38 0:01.140 214.653 15 9 R MOLINA Miguel ESP Prema Powerteam 1:37.203 33 0:01.187 214.549 16 16 . MOVE Daniil RUS KTR 1:37.219 40 0:01.203 214.514 17 12 . GARCIA Borja ESP RC Motorsport 1:37.344 30 0:01.328 214.238 18 7 R ROMANCINI Mario BRA Epsilon-Euskadi 1:37.375 26 0:01.359 214.17 19 6 R WICKENS Robert CAN Carlin Motorsport 1:37.453 29 0:01.437 213.999 20 8 R MARSOIN Alexandre FRA Epsilon-Euskadi 1:37.515 33 0:01.499 213.862 21 28 R CANTELLI Claudio BRA Ultimate-Signature 1:37.531 35 0:01.515 213.827 22 2 R PIC Charles FRA Tech 1 Racing 1:37.781 28 0:01.765 213.281 23 17 . MOREAU Guillaume FRA KTR 1:37.813 30 0:01.797 213.211 24 22 . MANN Pippa GBR P1 Motorsport 1:37.906 30 0:01.890 213.008 25 24 . THEOBALD Julian GER Fortec Motorsport 1:38.000 34 0:01.984 212.804 26 14 R CORTES Maximo ESP Pons Racing 1:38.640 46 0:02.624 211.423