Setting the new track record this morning for the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2:00.992s, the Chinese driver led from Renault Sport Academy member Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) and rookie Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP). In the afternoon Italy’s Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport) set the pace.
The Formula Renault Eurocup was back in action at Circuit Paul Ricard, which will host the first meeting of the season (April 13-15).
While Yifei Ye dominated for most of the morning, Max Fewtrell beat the benchmark time established yesterday before the Chinese driver answered with a lap of 2:00.992s five minutes prior to the end of the session. He was followed by the R-ace GP trio of Max Fewtrell, Logan Sargeant and Charles Milesi, while Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport) completed the top five.
The start of the afternoon session saw several teams put in race simulation runs. Yifei Ye, Oscar Piastri and Lorenzo Colombo took turns at the sharp end of the order, with the Italian driver getting the nod in 2:01.394s with Oscar Piastri, Max Defourny (MP Motorsport), Logan Sargeant and Yifei Ye falling in behind.
The day concluded with 15 minutes reserved for start simulations. The next collective tests will be held on April 4-5 at the Nürburgring (Germany).
Morning session - Afternoon session
Max Fewtrell in Yifei Ye’s wake
Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP): “Even though we were focusing on our programme, the pace was there with the second best time in the two days of testing. It’s a shame there was a red flag during our stint on new tyres, I was half-a-tenth quicker than I was on the simulator! We still have some work to do, there is always a way to improve, but we are finding our way.”
Max Defourny returns to the front of the order
Max Defourny (MP Motorsport): “I think returning to the Formula Renault Eurocup is the best decision for my career and I have something to prove after my 2017 season. It is a new start, but my ambition is the same: the title! Today’s result is gratifying in so much as we only put in one perfect stint this morning on used tyres. We now have to fix a few problems in order not to have any more for the rest of the season.”
Charles Milesi betting on consistency
Charles Milesi (R-ace GP): “So far, the raw speed has been good like it was this morning with fourth best time. I still have to work on being consistent and putting in a perfect lap. My team mates have done so and thus they can maximize tyre grip. I almost did it last year in my wild card entry at Circuit Paul Ricard, but I want to do it in all the races this season.”
Clément Novalak wants to be a fast learner
Clément Novalak (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “Since the return to action we’ve made good progress and it’s all been quite positive so far. Everyone says that if you win in Formula Renault, you can win everywhere, but it is still a very hard car to drive! Thankfully, I can rely on the help and data from Richard Verschoor and Yifei Ye, who are arguably the two fastest drivers in the field, to learn as fast as possible. The objective of my three-pronged programme this season is to gain as much experience as possible. It is always a bit of mystery when you start out and this will let me see at the end of the year if I am ready to move on to another category or if I will return to race for the title!”
Frank Bird continues his development
Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing): “After this long winter, my integration to Tech 1 Racing has gone wonderfully. I had a difficult first year in the Formula Renault Eurocup, but I think I have reduced my lack of experience to the rest of the competition. I also know better how to interpret what I am feeling in the car to determine which direction we have to go to fine-tune the set-ups. My objective is to continue to progress while beginning the season at the level I finished last year, in the top half of field!”
Eliseo Martinez on the rise
Eliseo Martinez (AVF by Adrián Vallés): “All of my team mates and team members speak the same language; we’ve been able to quickly create a solid relationship in which we all work flat-out to progress. The gaps are nevertheless extremely tight and to be in the top ten like I was this morning seems to me a lot harder than in Euroformula Open. As a rookie, a spot in the top ten would be ideal because the Formula Renault Eurocup has the best young drivers in the world.”