2019 Formula Renault Eurocup rookie winner Caio Collet (R-ace GP) was quickest over the two days of pre-season collective tests at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The Renault Sport Academy driver set the best time of 1:29.063s ahead of Michael Belov (M2 Competition) and Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix).
Following the first day of action, the competitors continued their pre-season preparations in Valencia. While Matthias Lüthen (Global Racing Service) was not running today, there were still 25 drivers on track thanks to Fabienne Wohlwend’s appearance with M2 Competition.
Michael Belov got his day off to an ideal start with a session-best 1:29.342s to finish ahead of Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) and Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing). In session two, the Russian’s time was bested by Caio Collet with a lap clocked at 1:29.063s, 0.7s quicker than the next best, his teammate Petr Ptáček (R-ace GP).
After the mid-day break, Victor Martins led the way for most of the session before Caio Collet pipped him with a time of 1:30.088s on his last lap. In the final session, the red flag caused by Nicola Marinangeli (Bhaitech Racing) set up a final 10-minute sprint. Victor Martins came out on top in 1:29.371s, but couldn’t improve upon Caio Collet’s reference time set earlier in the day.
The Formula Renault Eurocup field now heads to Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya for another two days of pre-season collective tests on Saturday and Sunday.
Caio Collet back on top
Caio Collet (R-ace GP): “This was the first time I drove for the team at this circuit and I am happy with the progress we’ve made over both days. This year, the team can count on three experienced drivers and Petr, Kush and I work very well together. The atmosphere is great and we took a big step forward today. I am very pleased with how today went, but it is only testing. However, if we keep this momentum going, I think we’ll have everything we need to be in the race for the title. Like last year, the battle promises to be fierce with some strong contenders, but I think that two or three teams will pull away and we need to be one of them!”
Reece Ushijima racks up the laps
Reece Ushijima (M2 Competition): “I did a test at Barcelona last year in pouring rain, so this was my first real test with this car on a dry track. As I expected, it was difficult, but it was important to put in the laps to continue learning the car and the track. I did 150 laps, more than anyone else over the two days, and everyone of them was useful in my learning process. The team is great and I would like to thank them very much for their patience with my limited experience. For sure, I have expectations of myself, but maybe it is better if I don’t mention a specific target! Results will count, but more importantly, I will need to maximise my learning in all areas throughout the year!”
Back to the fray
Petr Ptáček (R-ace GP): “These first pre-season collective tests went very nicely. It is always a bit different to get back in the car at a track that isn’t on the calendar, so we made the most of it to try some things. Some of them worked, some didn’t. The most important thing is to put in the laps to see where we are, to develop the car, give good feedback and hope that the times are there when switching to new tyres… And as my goal is the title, we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen! “
Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport): “As I had never driven for the team before, I was a bit stressed when I arrived in Valencia. I have discovered their very productive work process and I think our relationship has gotten off on the right foot. To start the season at a circuit that isn’t on the calendar lets us focus on ourselves, and not on the lap times or the competition. We still have to work, but all the changes made so far are moving in the right direction. This is positive and we will use the Barcelona tests to look for more performance and comparisons.”
Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix): “This season, my main target is to make progress all throughout the year to be regularly at the sharp end of the order and try to be as fast as my team mates. I am also thrilled to be a part of this very professional team. We all work together to make sure the car performs as well as possible and suits our driving styles. It’s really good for me and the day went well with several top ten times. We know why some things didn’t work and that will help us move forward. I also have to work harder to complete an ideal lap, which is extremely important in this category where the slightest mistake can be very costly in qualifying.”