After six different leaders in as many days of collective testing this year, Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam) became the first driver to top the standings for a second time. The Brazilian dominated both the morning and afternoon sessions to set the fastest time on day one of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective testing at the Circuito de Jerez. His time of 1:39.708 put him clear of Kevin Jörg (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Anthoine Hubert (Tech 1 Racing).
After Motorland Aragón, Paul Ricard and Barcelona, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers and teams headed for the Circuito de Jerez to get their first taste of the circuit that is due to host the season ten finale of the World Series by Renault.
On the Andalusian track, Steijn Schothorst (Manor MP Motorsport), Egor Orudzhev (Tech 1 Racing) and Andrew Tang (Prema Powerteam) wasted no time in fighting it out for the lead before the session was interrupted following an incident involving Denis Korneev (JD Motorsport). When the session resumed, first Ignazio D’Agosto (Koiranen GP) and then Bruno Bonifacio grabbed the leading time. The Brazilian then improved his time again, enabling him to stay in first place with a lap timed at 1:39.708. He led from Kevin Jörg, Anthoine Hubert, Matevos Isaakyan (JD Motorsport) and Alexander Albon (KTR) when the chequered flag signalled the end of the session.
In the afternoon, Anthoine Hubert quickly grabbed the early lead before being dislodged by Aurélien Panis (ART Junior Team) at the end of the first hour. The French Formula 4 Champion hit back, however, before Andrea Pizzitola (Manor MP Motorsport) moved to the top of the timesheets. The domination of the French drivers was brought to a halt when Bruno Bonifacio, and then his team-mate Hans Villemi took over at the front. The session was red-flagged when Jordan Perroy (RC Formula) stopped on the track. However, when the action resumed, Bruno Bonifacio reclaimed top spot to finish ahead of Dennis Olsen, Steijn Schothorst, George Russell (Koiranen GP) and Jack Aitken (Fortec Motorsports) after a late surge of fast times was cut short by a minor incident involving Matt Parry (Fortec Motorsports).
The final day of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective testing will be held tomorrow, before the season gets underway on 25-27 April at Motorland Aragón.
What they said
Bruno Bonifacio: “Once again, the aim was to gather important data. We worked a lot together, both with the engineers and the drivers. The results show that we are on course to have a good season. There are lots of challenges at Jerez with the massive degradation of the tyres and the gravel run-off areas. There is only room for a tiny margin of error.”
Kevin Jörg: “The day went well, especially this morning when I set the second fastest time with a lap I think was close to perfect. I was less fortunate in the afternoon with the traffic and the red flags. I didn’t get the chance to complete a clear lap. On this circuit, the tyres seem to hit peak performance on their second lap, before then losing three or four tenths.”
Anthoine Hubert: “I had already done some testing at Jerez, so I knew the circuit. From the word go, we were on the pace and we showed that this morning in setting the third fastest time on new tyres. This afternoon, we worked on the set-up of the car to try and manage the tyre degradation as effectively as possible. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the most of the fresh tyres with the traffic and the red flags. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, so it should be interesting.”
Jack Aitken: “I hadn’t driven since December last year. It went pretty well, although I was a bit rusty this morning. We managed to do a lot of things this afternoon. It’s easy to make a mistake, particularly on the quick corners. If you don’t get them right, you can easily lose a lot of time, especially on the qualifying runs. The track is fairly unforgiving, but that’s the challenge and it’s a good thing!”