Monras strikes before the snow

Spa-Francorchamps – Collective testing

Spa-Francorchamps has been the venue for the final Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective test before the 2009 season gets underway in Barcelona. Miki Monras (SG Formula) provide to be the quickest driver both in dry and wet conditions. But winter returned to southern Belgium today! Steady snowfall in the Ardenne brought collective testing to an early end.

The weather was fine as testing got underway at Spa-Francorchamps. The thirty-strong group of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers wasted no time in heading out onto the track. Dutch driver Dave Van den Heulen hooked up with Fortec Motorsport for these test sessions.

Very quickly, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Motopark Academy), Antonio Felix da Costa (Motopark Academy), Kevin Magnussen (Motopark Academy), Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) and Miki Monras put in fast times as they fought it out for top spot. The standings kept changing but it was Miki Monras who finally clocked the best time with a lap of 2'19''370. The Spaniard was trailed by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Antonio Felix da Costa, Albert Costa, Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Mancinelli (IT Loox).

The afternoon session began in very similar fashion. The drivers racked up the laps, without putting on new tyres. Lap times were a little slower than in the morning. As rain began to fall, Kevin Magnussen headed the timing screens, leading from Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Antonio Felix da Costa, Albert Costa and Patrick Kronenberger (Iquick Valencia).

The track remained wet for the rest of the day. The session was interrupted on a number of occasions as the red flag was shown. Conditions appeared to improve a little towards the end of the day. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was at that stage the fastest driver in the rain, but on his final flying lap, Miki Monras went quicker. Monras was therefore quickest in dry and wet conditions. He finished ahead of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Albert Costa, Jean-Éric Vergne (SG Formula) and Kevin Magnussen.

On Tuesday morning, the Belgian Ardennes were covered with a blanket of snow. Conditions more suited to a snowball fight than an on-track battle... Collective testing was therefore abandoned. The drivers will meet up again in a few weeks time in Barcelona, for the start of the season.

Quote, unquote:

Miki Monras: "I really like this track. We have worked well here at SG Formula throughout the off-season and we've been improving at every test. Both sessions were very interesting and I am really very pleased to have set the best time in both dry and wet conditions. It's perfect preparation for the opening round at Barcelona, another track that I really like."

Antonio Felix da Costa: "We are right on the pace. I feel more confident in the car than I did last season. I've learnt a lot with Motopark Academy. Everything is in place for a great season!"

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs: "We were competitive during collective testing and we stuck to our work programme. Le Mans went very well, as has Spa-Francorchamps, on both dry and wet tracks. I don't know if I am one of the favourites this season. Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is a wide open, hotly-contested category. This season promises to be very interesting – there are a lot of potential winners, so you won't get away with any mistakes."

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