For this second day, the number of drivers grew with the appearance of Callan O’Keeffe and Luke Chudleigh at Fortec Motorsports, Louis Delétraz and Kevin Jörg with Josef Kaufmann Racing, as well as Matevos Isaakyan and Thiago Vivacqua for JD Motorsport. All joined the field after their absence yesterday due to the testing restrictions for drivers doing a double programme. And finally, Charlie Eastwood replaced Jayde Kruger at Strakka Racing.
Good timing for Hasse-Clot
On a drying track, Jake Hughes and James Allen (ARTA Engineering) were the early pace setters before Anthoine Hubert, Jack Aitken and Ben Barnicoat (Fortec Motorsports) took turns leading the way. Dennis Olsen (Manor MP Motorsport) began the final hour atop the time sheet as the drivers switched to slicks. The session was shortened following the accident of Amaury Richard (ARTA Engineering). Valentin Hasse-Clot finished in first position with a lap of 1:41.698 ahead of Ben Barnicoat, Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP), Amaury Richard and Dennis Olsen.
Koiranen GP one-two in the afternoon
With a dry track, the morning reference time was improved on the very first lap recorded. Valentin Hasse-Clot beat his own time, before seeing Matevos Isaakyan, Kevin Jörg and Jake Hughes follow him. Anthoine Hubert then established a new track record in the category, which was then bettered by Jack Aitken. The Brit responded to Ben Barnicoat and Jake Hughes, who both lead briefly. His lap of 1:32.907 allowed him to end the day ahead of Jake Hughes and Anthoine Hubert. Max Defourny (Strakka Racing) and Ben Barnicoat completed the top five.
Next collective tests for the category will take place on March 19/20 at Moorland Aragón.
Jack Aitken : “It was a really good day ! Once the track was no longer soaked, we were consistently the fastest. The new rain tyres seem to hold their peak performance longer, but we didn’t have a reference on this track. We have a fast car. Jake is really quick and we were able to be the fastest when it mattered. Let’s hope we can carry on at Motorland Aragón.“
Jake Hughes : “Before my last run with the new tyres, I wasn’t able to put in a clean lap, but I was able to put in a good time at the end of the day. It was necessary to have a good and solid day. With Jack leading the way and me in second position, it is a moral boost for the team if that was needed ! The goal is to win the title. It is the only attitude to adopt. I know very well that it will be difficult, so I’m looking forward to the fight.”
Simon Gachet : “These two test days went well despite the somewhat difficult conditions. The number of red flags was a problem as they came when we switched to new tyres. I would have preferred to be in the top three, which is also my goal for this season, but it is a good start to the year. We worked well with the team during the winter to bind the ties ; we have done a good job until now !”
Valentin Hasse-Clot : “The day went nicely despite the many red flags. Knowing the track is obviously an advantage when you begin in a category. This morning, the conditions were drying and I have always been comfortable on this type of track. In the afternoon, we had more problems that reduced my programme.”