The final official collective tests before the opening race of the season were held this Friday at Circuito de Jerez. Eight teams and their drivers made the most of the occasion to complete their preparation ahead of the April 24-26 meeting at Motorland Aragón.
Barnicoat breaks the record
Early on to the track, Bruno Baptista (Koiranen GP) set the opening reference time, which was then lowered by Anthoine Hubert, Amaury Richard (ARTA Engineering) and Darius Oskoui. Fortec Motorsports drivers Ben Barnicoat and Martin Kodrić then took over. Darius Oskoui moved back on top but was dislodged by Ben Barnicoat with a lap of 1:38.854 at the end of the first hour. This time held up all the way to the chequered flag. Anthoine Hubert, Martin Kodrić and Simon Gachet completed the top 5. The final 15-minutes of the session were reserved for practicing standing starts.
Gachet quickest in final session
Ben Barnicoat and Martin Kodrić were the first out on track in the afternoon. The two swapped fastest time until Lasse Sørensen (Manor MP Motorsport) went quicker. The defending French F4 champion improved upon his best time, but in the final minutes, Simon Gachet clocked a session best lap of 1:40.556, ahead of Anthoine Hubert, Mathias Kristensen (JD Motorsport) and Harrison Scott (AVF), while Ben Barnicoat, Martin Kodrić, Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP), Darius Oskoui and Bruno Baptista rounded out the top ten.
Ben Barnicoat : “These were two really good days of testing. Our pace was really good when we were on new tyres this morning. This is a particularly positive point because the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is a championship where you have to nail qualifying because it is difficult to overtake. To finish the winter preparation as the fastest driver with such a gap gives me a lot of confidence. We learned a lot, we ran a lot, everything is positive !”
Darius Oskoui : “I am somewhat surprised with our performance ! At Motorland, there was a lot of work to do, but by working methodically and focusing on ourselves, it began to pay off. The objective was to put it all together on one lap, which is hard to do here, so I am happy with how the day went. I haven’t done a race in two years and I am not really clear on what my goals are. They have been raised with what we showed today !”
Hugo de Sadeleer : “We did a good job preparing for my first season in Eurocup. I competed in one meeting last year and I know what to expect. At Le Mans, I had to get on with it after a long pause since last October. At Motorland, Anthoine and Simon were paramount in the preparation. They are very friendly and we work well together. I was happy with my ninth place, while I struggled a little here. My goal is to enter the top ten despite the level of competition, but I have the car to do it.”