Today, Friday, the entrants in the Renault Sport Trophy had three collective tests sessions to prepare for qualifying and the Endurance race on Saturday.
An R-ace GP double to set the ball rolling
If the #19Renault Sport R.S. 01 entrusted to Roy Geerts and Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) was the first to set a target, the times fell very quickly until the session was interrupted because of the #1 Oregon Team entry. This was followed by a 10-minute sprint to the flag in which the #3 R-ace GP driven by Kevin Korjus-Fredrik Blomstedt emerged victorious in a time of 1m26.824sec despite tough opposition from the #2 R-ace GP car of Raoul Owens and Jean-Marc Merlin, the #5 Oregon Team RS 01 driven by David Fumanelli-Due, the #21 Equipe Verschuur of Pieter and Jeroen Schothorst and the Oregon Team’s #4 in the hands of Bruno Bonifacio and Andrés Méndez.
Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 hits back
In the second session, the #9 Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 Renault Sport R.S 01 entrusted to Markus Palttala and Fabian Schiller was the first to lower the morning’s benchmark time. Despite the best efforts of the #2 R-ace GP, #9 got back on top with a lap in 1m26.270sec in the dying seconds of the session. The Oregon Team #4, the Equipe Verschuur #21 and the Oregon Team #1 rounded out the top 5.
The Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 drivers continued in the same vein by going even faster in the third and final session. The quick stint in the middle by the German-Finnish pair ended with a time of 1m26.131sec giving them the fastest time overall followed by the #3 and #2 R-ace GP Renaults, the Oregon Team #4 and the Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15 in the hands of Tanart Sathienthirakul and Fran Rueda.
Markus Palttala : “As I’ve just come back from a couple of weeks in America and as our hotel is 50 minutes from the circuit I was a bit jet-lagged. The team let Fabian Schiller drive this morning so I could grab some sleep. The fact that we’ve set the fastest time in two sessions is promising, but that’s often been the case in practice and we’ve had problems driving home our advantage in qualifying. So I’m not going to be jumping up and down with delight, all the more so as the gaps are very small. It’s a good start, but we’ll have to keep on pushing to move up to another level. The track surface is so smooth that it’s a challenge to find the right grip and the right balance. But this doesn’t make it any less fun to drive a car with as much downforce as the Renault Sport R.S. 01 !”
Kevin Korjus : “The first session went off really good as the team scored a double. The car handled well but I went out at the start of the second session while many improved at the end. In the last session I don’t know whether our rivals used new tyres or not, but we suffered a recurrent problem. Apart from that the car felt really good, and I think we’ll be better in qualifying than at Imola where we had a really difficult weekend.”
Raoul Owens : “I’m delighted with today. The car was consistent and I think our tests last month at the Red Bull Ring are helping us a lot as we have a good base to build on. I’m very happy to have been in the leading trio all the time. I felt at home behind the wheel and we’ve made a few changes to help us improve. I hope that Lady Luck will be on our side this weekend. I know I have the pace and performance to fight for a place on the podium on a regular basis, but I’ve been unlucky. These things happen in motor sport and it’s up to me to find the right solution.”