Collective Testing 1 – Barcelona
It felt like a dress rehearsal at the Barcelona track as drivers gathered for the last two days of collective testing, before the season gets underway for real. James Walker (P1 Motorsport) went quickest in the morning session. But Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) hit top form towards the end of the afternoon session to grab the day's best time.
Several drivers joined the Formula Renault 3.5 Series line-up for the last two days of collective testing before the season gets underway for real. Russian driver Daniil Move (Tech 1 Racing), who raced in the category in 2007 and 2008, drove Tech 1 Racing's number 1 car. Interwetten Racing handed a drive to Frenchman Franck Perera (Interwetten Racing) whilst Tobias Hegewald (Interwetten Racing) shared the team's other car with Mihai Marinescu (Interwetten Racing) on Tuesday.
A leading driver in the British Formula Renault 2.0 championship in 2008, Riki Christodoulou (Comtec Racing) was driving for Comtec Racing. After missing collective testing in Jerez and Valencia, Italian team RC Motorsport were back with one car, entrusted to Pasquale DiSabatino (RC Motorsport). Finally, Frankie Provenzano (Prema Powerteam) hooked up Prema Powerteam again. In total, twenty-two cars were here for testing.
The majority of the drivers headed straight onto the track as soon as testing got underway. Miguel Molina (USR) moved ahead of the rest of the field. James Walker upped the pace at the end of the first hour of testing, grabbing the lead with a time of 1'33''123. The drivers put together long series of runs at the start of the session, like Greg Mansell who racked up 56 laps in the morning.
With the help of fresh tyres, Adrian Valles (Epsilon Euskadi) dislodged Walker from top spot. James Walker and Miguel Molina wasted no time in responding, however. With a lap timed at 1'32''510, the British driver moved ahead of the Catalan driver, although he was only five thousandths quicker. Adrian Valles was third, ahead of Charles Pic and Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing).
In the afternoon, Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) – the first to fit fresh tyres – set the ball rolling. The Belgian took the lead, ahead of Fairuz Fauzy (Mofaz Fortec Motorsport). The other drivers were quick to set fast times of their own. Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) was first to go quicker, then Marcos Martinez shot to the top of the timing screens, with one hour of track time left, with a lap of 1'32''619.
There were new tyres galore in the last half hour. Charles Pic (Tech 1 Racing) was first to fit a fresh set of tyres, helping him take the lead. The Renault Driver Development driver then headed into the pits for a few adjustments to the setup and went back out with another set of new tyres. Pic improved his best time on successive laps, with 1'32''217 and then 1'32''085. He ended the afternoon ahead of Marco Barba (International Draco Racing), Oliver Turvey, Marcos Martinez and Bertrand Baguette.
Charles Pic: "We worked really hard this morning. At the start of the afternoon we improved another two or three things. With my first set of fresh tyres, things were pretty good, but then we adjusted the balance of the car. It's good to be right up there in each session. I just can't wait for the season to start."
James Walker: "I really like this track. We used our new tyres this morning. I set the best time without holding any of the best intermediate times. There was definitely some room for improvement. In the afternoon, we worked on the setup in race conditions."