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Formula Renault 3.5

Will Stevens (P1 Motorsport) left the Circuit de Catalunya with the fastest time on day two of collective testing on Wednesday, though Kevin Magnussen (Dams) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) were not far behind. In a morning session offering very different conditions, Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsports) were dominant.

Serving up sunny spells and showers, the Barcelona sky gave the 26 drivers a chance to work on a wide range of set-ups in Wednesday’s testing. Taking one look at the wet track, the teams decided to practice their pit-stops, with P1 Motorsport and Tech 1 Racing standing out from the rest.

Nico Muller mastered the damp conditions early on, only for his session to end early when he went off. As the track dried, the Fortec Motorsports duo made full use of their new slicks, with Stoffel Vandoorne posting a time of 1:30.156 and Oliver Webb lapping just 0.093 slower. Led by Kevin Magnussen (Dams) and Will Stevens (P1 Motorsport), the rest of the field found themselves over half a second off the pace.

Preparations for the opening weekend of the season, at Monza on 6-7 April, were the priority for the 13 teams after the restart. While some stables looked for performance, others concentrated on long runs with large fuel loads. Halfway through the afternoon, it was Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) who sat on top of the timesheets.

The battle intensified at the end of the session as the final sets of new tyres came out. Leaving his closest rivals Antonio Felix da Costa and Kevin Magnussen (Dams) to post the fastest sector times, British driver Will Stevens recorded the quickest lap overall to end the day on top.

The field will have further opportunities to fine-tune their set-ups at two half-days of testing on the Thursdays before the opening meetings of the season at Monza and Motorland Aragon. These extra sessions were organised after testing scheduled for 23 February was cancelled due to heavy snow.

What they said

Stoffel Vandoorne: “We had a few little scares yesterday every time we went out on slicks, but our two fastest times this morning showed we were on the right track. Oliver Webb is feeling more and more at ease and that’s creating some healthy competition in the team. I didn’t go out with much downforce this afternoon because I wanted to get familiar with the Monza set-up. I wasn’t really looking for performance.”

Nigel Melker: “I get the feeling I’m going to have one of my best ever seasons in 2013. I feel very much at home with Tech 1 Racing and I love the car. The front axle is very sharp and gives you an awful lot of grip, which is great for a driver. I still need to adapt my driving style, but the best is yet to come. I’m getting better and I’m feeling confident for the championship.”

Jazeman Jaafar: “The wind kept changing direction today and that was a real problem. I did my best time when the track wasn’t at its quickest, and it put me top of the timesheets, which was encouraging. The conditions will be very different at Monza but I’m not frightened about that. I love this track and I’m confident about our potential.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 20 March 2013
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