The V-8 powered Formula Renault 3.5 cars roared through the streets of Monaco from 8 in the morning. The drivers had 45-minutes to get the most out of the circuit on which they will star in the curtain raiser for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Fortec Motorsports’ Jazeman Jaafar and Oliver Rowland were first on track and they set the pace. The Malay answered the successive attacks of Meindert van Buuren (Lotus), Dean Stoneman (DAMS), Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) and Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin). Just before the mid-way point, Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) went down the Mirabeau escape road before coming to a stop in the tunnel, which resulted in a pause in the session.
When the action resumed Tom Dillmann moved to the top of the order, but the Fortec Motorsports entries and Tio Ellinas answered. Oliver Rowland improved to 1:25.031. Four minutes from the end, Tio Elilinas kicked-off the final sprint, while Matthieu Vaxiviere and Pietro Fantin made contact with the tire wall at Sainte-Dévote and Alfonso Celis spun out.
Oliver Rowland finished the session with a time of 1:24.171 ahead of Jaafar and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Tio Ellinas, Tom Dillmann Pietro Fantin, Meindert van Buuren and Nyck de Vries, top rookie on the day were next. Nicholas Latifi and Dean Stoneman rounded out the top ten.
Qualifying for the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will take place tomorrow from 9 in the morning.
Oliver Rowland : “The beginning of the session was tough with the traffic and new-comers, who were still learning the circuit. After that, I was able to find a good pace and I think we can make some more small improvements. We have to look at the times of some of the rookies because last year, I made a lot of progress between practice and qualifying. On the whole, I am quick, so is Jazeman. It was a good session.”
Jazeman Jaafar : “Some changes have been made to the track that I had to learn to build my confidence. It started well despite the traffic and the problems some drivers had. It is a good start for the team and we will work together to lock-out the front row tomorrow. I really like Monaco, it is one of my favourite tracks, and it will be really tough for me if I am not up front.”
Matthieu Vaxiviere : “If we look at the time sheet, the result is okay, but it was a complicated session. I had to get re-accustomed to Monaco and tame the track, because I was a little apprehensive after my accident that resulted in a fractured vertebra here last year. Maybe in trying too much to avoid making a mistake, I made one at the first corner. The team did a super job to allow me to put in an encouraging lap at the end of the session, especially as I know that there a lot more to gain for qualifying tomorrow.”