Appearing in the Formula Renault 3.5 for the last time this year, Kevin Magnussen (Dams) topped the timesheets at Motorland Aragon on Thursday. Just as he had done yesterday, the McLaren Development Programme driver mastered the car to record the day’s fastest lap in a time of 1:39.479. Carlos Sainz Jr (AV Formula) and Norman Nato (Tech 1 Racing) also showed their class at the wheel of the single-seater, going second- and third-quickest respectively.
Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing continued at Motorland Aragon on Thursday, with nine members of the 2012 field on duty. While Marco Sorensen (Lotus), Zoel Amberg (Pons Racing), Andre Negrao (International Draco Racing) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) stuck with the teams they drove for this last season, Carlos Huertas (Carlin), Yann Cunha (AV Formula), Lucas Foresti (Comtec Racing), Will Stevens (Arden Caterham) and Kevin Magnussen (Dams) all chose to drive for different stables.
Four of the top six of this year’s Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings were also correct and present. Heading the quartet was the reigning champion in the category, Stoffel Vandoorne (Dams), with Daniil Kvyat slipping into the seat of a Fortec Motorsports car, Norman Nato continuing his preparations with Tech 1 Racing and Paul-Loup Chatin taking over from him in the afternoon session. And after grappling with the Formula Renault 3.5 yesterday, Josh Hill, who took third place in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC championship, was back on the track again today, this time with Fortec Motorsports.
The morning pace was set by Norman Nato, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz Jr, who traded places several times at the top of the timesheets. The Spaniard was the first to go under the 1:40 mark, though Kevin Magnussen pipped him with a time of 1:39.479, the Dane ending the opening session ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Norman Nato, Antonio Felix da Costa and Daniil Kvyat.
Putting together some long runs, RACB National Team driver Stoffel Vandoorne dictated terms for much of the afternoon only for Danish duo Kevin Magnussen and Marco Sorensen to upstage him at the end of the session. Though Magnussen got the better of his compatriot, he could not improve on his morning time.
The last day of collective testing will take place tomorrow, albeit without Kevin Magnussen, who will be looking on from the pit wall as the field sets about the task of eclipsing his time of 1:39.479.
What they said :
Kevin Magnussen : “I did some Formula One testing for McLaren in Abu Dhabi, and it took me a while to find my bearings again in the Formula Renault 3.5. The Dams car was perfect for me, and just as we did at Barcelona we came here to find an effective set-up. You don’t get any points for it, but it’s nice to end the season in first place.”
Carlos Sainz Jr : “AV Formula is a brand new team that’s determined to do things well. I’m trying to give them all the help I can, though I’ve got a lot to learn about this car. To come away with the second-quickest time today is encouraging and it’s going to give the whole team even more encouragement to push on. I’ll be driving for Dams tomorrow and it’ll be useful to compare several different cars.”
Norman Nato : “I get better every time I drive this car and I’m in the leading pack on a regular basis now, which is a good sign at a time when we’re working on next season. It’s been very rewarding to work with Tech1 Racing, Dams and Arden Caterham. They each have a different approach and they each get the most out of the car in their own different ways.”
Antonio Felix da Costa : “What with the F1 testing in Abu Dhabi with Red Bull Racing and then my win in Macao, I’ve been pretty busy in the last few weeks and physically I wasn’t 100 percent today. It’s not official yet, but there’s every chance I’ll be driving in Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2013. That’s why it was important for me to get back in the car before the winter break and to get things clear in my mind before the next tests.”