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Formula Renault 3.5

The drivers contesting the 2012 season mainly had the edge on the second day of Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing. Marco Sorensen (Lotus) topped Wednesday’s sheets with a lap of 1:28.971, though Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson (ISR) struck a blow for the newcomers by posting the second-fastest time behind the Dane.

There were five additional drivers on the track for the second day of FR 3.5 Series testing at Catalunya. After a season racing in the colours of BVM Target, Nikolay Martsenko took control of a Tech 1 Racing single-seater, while 2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champ Stoffel Vandoorne stepped up a level to test with Arden Caterham. Ignazio d’Agosto, an adversary of the Belgian’s this season, was enjoying his first drive in the category, as was Matias Laine, who finished fifth in GP3 Series, and Formula 2 runner-up Matheo Tuscher, who at the age of 15 became the youngest ever driver to take the wheel of a Formula Renault 3.5.

The Catalan sun was burning bright at the start of the day. In response, the teams went for new tyres, with Arthur Pic (AV Formula), Marcus Ericsson and Marco Sorensen making the running, the Dane ending the 90-minute session atop the timesheets with a lap of 1:28.971. Already looking very much the part, the Swedish new boy was second-quickest ahead of Arthur Pic, Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin) and Will Stevens (Dams).

In a fairly sedate start to the afternoon several drivers practised their wheel changes while others went off on long runs, among them 2012 British F3 International Series runner-up Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) and Sergey Sirotkin (ISR), who finished third in Auto GP World Series. The last sets of new tyres came out when temperatures began to fall away at the end of the day, though Arthur Pic (AV Formula), the fastest man of the afternoon, could not improve on Marco Sorensen’s morning time.

Motorland Aragon will host the next round of collective texting on 21-23, one day of which is reserved exclusively for drivers receiving invitations from Renault Sport Technologies in reward for their performances this last season.

What they said:

Marco Sorensen: “I ended the season with a retirement so it’s been a real boost for me to have two days testing straightaway. In my head I’m already in 2013, and the aim is to compete in Formula Renault 3.5 Series again. Over these two days we’ve been able to identify what had been bothering us since Budapest.”

Carlos Sainz Jr: “This car is incredible. I thought I was going to be blown away by the power but it’s the downforce that’s surprised me most. I can take corners at 190km/h in an F3 car here, which is quick enough, but this car can take them at over 230 km/h. I don’t know if I’m going to drive in the series next year or later on but I’d really love to come back to World Series by Renault, both for the car and the events themselves.”

Sergey Sirotkin: “Though I’d already driven at one meeting this season, at the Moscow Raceway, I’ve learned a lot here in two days. I was finding my way around with Dams yesterday, but today I’ve picked up the pace today with ISR. The set-up suited me better. I’m planning to do as much post-season testing as possible so I can put together a good programme for 2013.”

Conor Daly: “I was only meant to do one basic day’s training but I’ve ended up doing two with Tech 1 Racing, which gave me the chance to really get to know the car and to get used to the downforce and braking. There’s no downside to this car. There’s no Formula series as good as this in the USA, and my objective is to nail down a starting place for 2013.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s a big step up from Formula Renault 2.0, and it’s the cornering speed that’s the biggest thing you have to get your head around. You need to have a lot of confidence in the car to keep your foot down in the fast corners. Physically I’m fine, though I’ve strained my neck a bit. My idea is to test with a few teams before taking a decision on 2013.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 24 October 2012
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