2015 Renault Sport Trophy Prestige category champion, Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team #1) got his new challenge, among the PROs, off to a strong start in clocking the best time of the collective tests at Motorland Aragón. The Italian driver set the days reference time of 1:53.421 to lead from Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #21) and Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9). In the morning, Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing #42) was quickest. In the AM category, Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9) and Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15) shared the honours.
For this first day of the race weekend, three hours of track time split into two sessions awaited the Renault Sport Trophy competitors on the Spanish circuit.
Williamson ahead right away
The day began on good pace with the likes of Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing #7), Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing #11), Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP #3) and Jordan Grogor (V8 Racing #6) each taking their turn at the top of the time sheet.
Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing #42) then took over, successively answering the runs of Meindert van Buuren (V8 Racing #8), Fabian Schiller and Pieter Schothorst.
With ten minutes remaining in the session, the Brit set his best time of 1:54.047 to end the session on top. Pieter Schothorst and the best AM driver in the session, Fabian Schiller followed. PRO drivers Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15) and Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9) rounded out the top five.
Capitanio on top
In the afternoon, Nicky Pastorelli and Roy Geerts (Equipe Verschuur #19) swapped best time until they were beaten by Markus Palttala. The Finnish driver then saw David Fumanelli (Oregon Team #5) and Bruno Bonifacio (Oregon Team #4) take over.
Despite the reply of Nicky Pastorelli, Dario Capitanio was the first driver to improve upon the best morning time before a stoppage to repair the tyre wall at turn two.
No driver was able to better the time of 1:53.421 set by the Italian. Pieter Schothorst slotted in behind in second, ahead of Markus Palttala. Fran Rueda, best AM, was fourth in front of Raoul Owens (R-ace GP #2).
Dario Capitanio : “We need to work more on our used tyre set-up as we were a bit behind this morning. At the end of the day, we put in a good lap on new tyres like we did in testing at Estoril. Even though we can still improve, I hope to be able to do this again tomorrow. The goal is to win against my rivals and my team mates, most notably David and Bruno. They have more experience than I do. They are good references, while working for the good of the team. To be on their pace is very motivating.”
Lewis Williamson : “We managed a good lap in the morning session despite a few problems that cost us track time. We could have done better, but it was enough to be at the top of the time sheet. This afternoon, I only did one run in order to leave the rest of the session to Tim because he was handicapped this morning. Let’s now see what will happen tomorrow !”
Fabian Schiller : “I think we are in good shape. We are now ready and the car is fast as we showed today. Markus posted third best time in spite of a problem. With our speed, the team’s talent and his experience, I am really looking forward to starting the season tomorrow. Markus’s help is precious. His GT experience is really useful for someone coming from open-wheel cars like myself. Although the Renault Sport R.S. 01 is very light and has a lot of aerodynamic downforce, it is different so his ability to set an excellent time on his first flying lap is also great. He will push both my physical and mental limits.”