WSbR Pic takes it at the last

Paul Ricard HTTT – Collective testing 3

Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) finished these Collective Tests with the fastest time , but the Frenchman could have done without crashing off on his final flying lap. Pic was followed by Miguel Molina (Epsilon Eusakdi) and Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi), who has been very convincing over these three days of testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT.

The wet tyres were out from the start on Friday. Newcomers Adam Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport), Formula Renault 2.0 UK champion, Renger Van der Zande (Prema Powerteam), fourth in Formula 3 Euro Series, and Harald Schlegelmilch (Red Devil Team Comtec), fourth in Formula Master, were among the first to get going.

Once the drivers swapped their wet tyres for slicks, the times improved lap on lap. James Walker (P1 Motorsport) took the lead, before Walter Grubmuller (P1 Motorsport) clocked a faster time. The track was still not at its quickest, however, and a further round of improvements would not be long in coming. In successive laps, first Renger Van der Zande, then Miguel Molina snatched the lead.

Things really got going as the end of the session approached. Jaime Alguersuari (Tech 1 Racing) moved out in front, then Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) went top with a time of 1'16''575. The dying minutes would prove crucial. James Walker took the lead, and his time of 1'16''100 also made him the first driver to beat Epsilon Euskadi driver Dani Clos's time from Wednesday afternoon, the fastest of the week so far. James Walker finished the morning on top of the pile, ahead of Miguel Molina, Marco Barba, Charles Pic and Greg Mansell (Ultimate-Signature).

The early part of the afternoon was somewhat spoiled by a passing shower. But the track gradually dried out and all the drivers had the time to try out a fresh set of tyres at the end of the day. In that time, Miguel Molina managed to clock the fastest time of the week so far in 1'16''071, just ahead of Roberto Merhi.

In the dying moments of the session, Charles Pic went after Molina's time and propelled himself into first position with a time of 1'15''998. But the Frenchman was too optimistic on his last flying lap and ended up hitting the wall and damaging the front right-hand part of his car.

The next set of Formula Renault 3.5 collective tests will be held in Valencia at the end of November.

Quote, unquote:

James Walker: "We put on fresh tyres just before the break, which turned out to be a good idea as the rain then came. This was a good performance and follows on from my strong finish to the 2008 season. I'll definitely be competing in Formula Renault 3.5 Series next year. I just have to choose a team."

Greg Mansell: "These three days have been a great experience, even though I've been ill since I got here so I haven't been at 100%. It's a very professional championship and there's a really nice atmosphere. I'm comfortable driving the car. We're going to make a decision very soon, but it's certainly an interesting option for 2009."

Renger Van der Zande: "The FR 3.5 is much more powerful than an F3. As a result, you have to drive it completely differently. Nothing is decided for 2009 yet, but it'll probably come down to a choice between GP2, FR 3.5 and DTM."

Adam Christodoulou: "The car is really good on the slow bends, but it's on the fast bends that it's at its most impressive. You really feel it physically. I was getting to know the car and the circuit today, whereas the others have been here for a few days already. I got faster and faster as the day went on, which was my aim."

POS CAR DRIVER TEAM LAPS TIME 1 2  Charles PIC Tech 1 Racing 38 01:15.998 2 7 Miguel MOLINA Epsilon Euskadi 34 01:16.071 3 8 Roberto MERHI Epsilon Euskadi 45 01:16.127 4 22 James WALKER P1 Motorsport 18 01:16.251 5 4 Marco BARBA International Draco Racing 18 01:16.318 6 1 Jaime ALGUERSUARI Tech 1 Racing 35 01:16.562 7 6 Oliver TURVEY Carlin Motorsport 39 01:16.659 8 21 Walter GRUBMULLER P1 Motorsport 28 01:16.783 9 25 Alexandre MARSOIN Red Devil Team Comtec 36 01:16.823 10 9 Renger VanDerZANDE Prema PowerTeam 46 01:16.870 11 27 Greg MANSELL Ultimate-Signature 35 01:17.021 12 24 Adam CHRISTODOULOU Fortec Motorsport 49 01:17.101 13 23 Jake ROSENZWEIG Fortec Motorsport 45 01:17.316 14 10 Claudio CANTELLI Prema PowerTeam 41 01:17.411 15 11 Pasquale DiSABATINO RC Motorsport 50 01:17.414 16 3 Joanne JOAKINEN International Draco Racing 60 01:17.435 17 16 Siso CUNILL KTR 44 01:17.529 18 28 Rodolfo GONZALEZ Ultimate-Signature 38 01:17.671 19 14 Anton NEBYLITSKIY Pons Racing 41 01:17.765 20 26 Harald SCHLEGELMILCH Red Devil Team Comtec 31 01:18.056 21 15 Federico LEO Pons Racing 51 01:18.967 22 17 Sten PENTUS KTR 1  

POS CAR DRIVER TEAM LAPS TIME

1 22 James WALKER P1 Motorsport 42 01:16.100 2 7 Miguel MOLINA Epsilon Euskadi 60 01:16.157 3 4 Marco BARBA International Draco Racing 58 01:16.215 4 2 Charles PIC Tech 1 Racing 37 01:16.313 5 27 Greg MANSELL Ultimate-Signature 57 01:16.325 6 25 Alexandre MARSOIN Red Devil Team Comtec 41 01:16.450 7 1 Jaime ALGUERSUARI Tech 1 Racing 37 01:16.664 8 26 Harald SCHLEGELMILCH Red Devil Team Comtec 45 01:16.956 9 9  Renger VanDerZANDE Prema PowerTeam 57 01:17.046 10 21 Walter GRUBMULLER P1 Motorsport 59 01:17.110 11 10 Claudio CANTELLI Prema PowerTeam 58 01:17.161 12 3 Omar LEAL International Draco Racing 64 01:17.304 13 23 Jake ROSENZWEIG Fortec Motorsport 44 01:17.308 14 8 Roberto MERHI Epsilon Euskadi 54 01:17.343 15 14 Anton NEBYLITSKIY Pons Racing 55 01:17.392 16 16 Siso CUNILL KTR 43 01:17.461 17 11 Pasquale DiSABATINO RC Motorsport 55 01:17.569 18 24 Adam CHRISTODOULOU Fortec Motorsport 67 01:17.846 19 6 Oliver TURVEY Carlin Motorsport 33 01:17.906 20 28 Rodolfo GONZALEZ Ultimate-Signature 53 01:18.181 21 15 Federico LEO Pons Racing 62 01:18.401 22 12 Geoffrey KWONG RC Motorsport 75 01:19.696 23 17 Sten PENTUS KTR 9 01:32.171


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