Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) set the pace during the Friday collective tests at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The Lotus F1 Team Junior driver posted the day’s quickest lap in 1:59.620 in the afternoon during the session where the low-downforce configuration on the rear wing was mandatory. The Frenchman led from the quickest in the morning session, Cyprus’ Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) and England’s Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports).

Ellinas on a drying track

On a slightly damp track surface, the times tumbled lap after lap. After a short stoppage instigated by series leader Jazeman Jaafar (Fortec Motorsports), Tio Ellinas improved as did Matthieu Vaxiviere and Oliver Rowland.

The three drivers swapped the top spot several times with Tio Ellinas getting the upper hand. The lap clocked in 2:00.758 by the Cyprus native was good enough for best time of the session ahead of Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Matthieu Vaxiviere. The top rookie in the session, Sean Gelael and Oliver Rowland completed the top five.

Vaxiviere gets his revenge

In the afternoon, the competitors got a sense of what the Spa-Francorchamps is like with low rear wing downforce. Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) ceded the top spot to Oliver Rowland between two stoppages provoked by Roy Nissany (Tech 1 Racing) and Pietro Fantin.

The pace picked up in the final ten minutes. Tio Ellinas was the first to go under the two-minute barrier, but Matthieu Vaxiviere improved to 1:59.620 to precede the Strakka Racing driver and Oliver Rowland. Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport) and Beitske Visser (AVF) followed the leading trio.

Quotes

Matthieu Vaxiviere : “We worked on the free-configuration for Sunday qualifying. It went well with the third best time on old tyres. This afternoon, the focus was on Saturday. We optimized our set-up with used tyres and the switch to new rubber confirmed our work. I put in a clean lap and there is still the potential to improve even more.”

Tio Ellinas : “Today was good right from the start, both in low-downforce and with the free aerodynamic configuration. The car worked well in both cases. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow in qualifying. The objective is a podium result or a win. After our bad luck at Motorland and Monaco, it is time to show what we are made of !”

Pietro Fantin : “The morning went well with a good car. We had a few adjustments to make, but everything had to be changed to run with low-downforce in the afternoon because the setup is totally different. Unfortunately, I totally lost the back end at Blanchimont and I hit the barrier. I am okay, but I have no reference. This will seriously compromise tomorrow, we’re a step behind for sure.”

Combined collective test

Photo HD

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