Collective testing 1 – Valencia
The tortuous Valencia track saw Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) grab first place at the end of the first day of collective testing, just as he did in Jerez. Rookie Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) is in second place ahead of his compatriot James Walker (P1 Motorsport), the quickest man on track in the morning session.
Two days after the first collective testing of the season, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series competitors are still in Spain, having moved a little way southwards to the Valencia circuit. Two new drivers have arrived to swell the ranks of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series line-up, in the shape of Tobias Hegewald (Interwetten Racing) and Alexandre Marsoin (Comtec Racing).
James Walker (P1 Motorsport) was first to make a showing. The British driver led the rankings ahead of Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing), Oliver Turvey, Greg Mansell (USR) and Bertrand Baguette (International Team Draco). Only Fairuz Fauzy (Mofaz Fortec Motorsport) would disrupt this order, moving into third place.
The teams are limited to three sets of new tires for these two days of tests. For most of the drivers, the morning was devoted to working with the new 2009 gearbox staging. Pitstop simulations were also much in evidence. Towards the end of the session, James Walker went out with new tires and improved his laptime in 1'22''862. He finished the morning in the lead, ahead of Miguel Molina (USR), Tobias Hegewald, Marcos Martinez and Fairuz Fauzy.
The afternoon got off to a quiet start. The teams applied themselves to steadily getting to grips with the behaviour of the single-seaters. Everyone appeared to be genuinely pleased with the new aerodynamic package. Oliver Turvey took the lead first, relayed by Marcos Martinez.
As the end of the session approached, the Rookies were first to fit new tires. Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) and Greg Mansell went to top the standings. However, the more experienced drivers got the better of them. Marco Barba (International Draco Racing) lay down the gauntlet and put in exactly the same laptime as the one set by James Walker at the end of the morning, 1'22''862. As the checkered flag approached, Oliver Turvey and Charles Pic stepped up the pace. Pic came away with the fastest time of 1'22''712, putting himself at the top of the day's leaderboard ahead of Oliver Turvey and duo James Walker and Marco Barba.
James Walker, «We hadn't used our full quota of tires in Jerez, so I decided to fit new tires this morning. We've got a very good set-up, our car is really going well.»
Charles Pic: «We worked all afternoon to improve the car's performance and we're very satisfied with the result. I think the circuit will be quicker tomorrow, like every second day of testing tends to be.»
Marcos Martinez: «In Jerez things weren't going perfectly, but now we have finally worked out what direction we need to work in. Things aren't bad, because we were on the pace straight away here. With this aerodynamic configuration, we are quicker on the straights. I shift into 6th gear before hitting the last bend, and that wasn't the case before.»
Oliver Turvey: «I'm still in a learning curve here. By talking and working efficiently with the Carlin Motorsport team, I'm really managing to adapt the car to my driving. I feel much more comfortable than in Jerez.»