To begin their preparation for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0., season, the drivers and teams present discovered or rediscovered the circuit that will host the French round of the World Series by Renault on 26 and 27 September.
Aitken at the right time
On a drying track surface, Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP) clocked the first reference time. The 2014 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Junior champion was quickly overtaken by ten different drivers. In the final hour, the pace accelerated under the leadership of Harrison Scott (AVF). Valentin Hasse-Clot (Strakka Racing), Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP) and Ben Barnicoat each had their turn atop the time sheet, but it was Jack Aitken setting the fastest time lap in 1:34.783. Ben Barnicoat was next, followed by Martin Kodrić (Fortec Motorsports), Jake Hughes and Simon Gachet (Tech 1 Racing) at the end of a session prematurely interrupted.
Defourny before the rain
In the afternoon, Anthoine Hubert and Anton De Pasquale swapped best times in the opening hour. Ben Barnicoat then took over before Max Defourny became the first to improve upon the morning reference time with a lap of 1:34.101. With the return of rain, Max Dufourny’s time remained unchallenged. Ben Barnicoat was next, followed by Anthoine Hubert, Jack Aitken and Jake Hughes. In the wet conditions, Ben Barnicoat did the best job with a lap of 1:51.618.
Max Defourny : "The day went well and it is very positive for the team, especially since we did not focus too much on the times. We worked a lot on set-up today. It was a good return to action, both in the dry and the wet. Compared to the Formula Renault 1.6, the Formula Renault 2.0. is a huge step forward in the areas of aerodynamics, power and grip. You learn a lot with this car. "
Jack Aitken : "We had a little bit of everything today, which is quite good. It is a nice circuit, but there are a few areas where it is easy to cut and the marshals were very strict about this. In the dry, we didn’t do a lot of laps, but it seems we had good pace. There is maybe more work needed to be done in wet conditions, but we’re not far off. So, it was a good day to resume. With a strong end of the season consisting of a win and podiums, I am keen to start the season in the same fashion in order to win the title. "
Ben Barnicoat : "It was really a good day. We had mixed conditions and it was rather difficult this morning. In the end, we put in five or six laps in the dry. At the start of the afternoon, it was completely dry and I was the fastest with used slick tyres. I think Max switched to fresh rubber to set the best time. In the final hour, we made the most of the heavy rain to test the new rain tyres. I was really quick in these conditions ! For this first season in Eurocup, I have less experience than Olsen, Jorg and Aitken. I would like to win the title, so wait a bit and we will soon know where we are.”
Anthoine Hubert : "My goal is the title, so it’s good to start with a positive day though somewhat complicated. We would have preferred dry conditions for resuming, but the track was greasy this morning. We were on good pace, always among the leaders. When the track dried late in the morning, we stayed in the pits. In the afternoon, for my first session in a Formula Renault 2.0. on a dry Le Mans track surface, we were good without even switching to new tyres. We would have liked to work a little more in wet conditions, but it wasn’t easy to do so with the red flags.”