Roy Geerts takes the early lead
History will note that Luciano Bacheta was the first driver in the history of the Renault Sport Trophy to take to the track during a World Series by Renault meeting. After a brief stoppage caused by Bas Schothorst (Zele Racing), Steijn Schothorst went to the top of the time sheets before David Fumanelli and Roy Geerts went quicker. With a lap of 2:14.654, the winner of the 2013 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Junior was followed by Steijn Schothorst, David Fumanelli, Vittorio Ghirelli (Zele Racing) et Federico Leo (V8 Racing). In the “Prestige” category, Richard Gonda set the pace ahead of Niccolò Nalio (Oregon Team) and Stefano Costantini (V8 Racing).
Steijn Schothorst ahead of the Oregons
In the afternoon, Niccolò Nalio and Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team) traded best time before Alan Hellmeister (Oregon Team) took over the top spot. With 14 minutes remaining, Luciano Bacheta (Oregon Team) was at the sharp end of the order, but David Fumanelli then Steijn Schothorst took over, with a time of 2:1.449 for the Dutchman. Alan Hellmeister and Andrea Pizziola (ART Junior Team) completed the top five, while Dario Capitanio dominated the “Prestige” category ahead of Richard Gonda and Philippe Haezebrouck.
Steijn Schothorst : “This is exactly the start we wanted. The team did a lot of work to allow us to test different solutions, especially in terms of downforce. Spa always asks a compromise : fast in sectors 1 and 3 or fast in sector 2. I think that we’ve found a good balance and I am now looking forward to qualifying. For the Endurance race, my father has to qualify the car. He needs more track time to be able to battle for the pole, but he is making huge steps.”
David Fumanelli : “For my first time at Spa with a GT, the report is positive. The performance level of the car on this circuit surprised me ; I had to find my marks during the first session and we save the new tyres for the afternoon. When we put them on, the time was good, but we lost out on the best time by just 24/1000ths of a second. Nevertheless, we are competitive and we will continue to work while hoping it doesn’t rain, if not we will have to start over.”
Richard Gonda : “It was a good day. Andrea and I feel a lot more comfortable in the car since the tests at Valencia. The car is a lot nicer to drive, especially on such a fast circuit. The pace is good, which is the most important thing for us. To go through Eau Rouge at top speed is a challenge, like all the high-speed corners. It will be important to determine the ideal set-up on a full tank. It should be a fine weekend, as much for the drivers as for the spectators.”