Max Defourny (ART Junior Team) continues his strong running during Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winter collective testing. For the category’s return to Circuit Paul Ricard, the Belgian driver set best time of the day in 2:02.985 during the morning session. This year’s Formula Renault 2.0 NEC rookie of the year led from fellow newcomer Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing), who was quickest in the afternoon. Third fastest, Hugo De Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing) was followed by Sahara Force India Academy protégé Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and rookies Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing) and Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing).
Day one of the collective tests organized at Circuit Paul Ricard saw some familiar faces like Hugo de Sadeleer and Valentin Hasse-Clot (Mark Burdett Motorsport) return to action. There were also some new drivers, including Giuliano Alesi (ART Junior Team), Finlay Hutchinson (Hutchinson Racing), Yan Shlom (AVF), Alessandro Buran (TS Corse) and Ghislain Cordeel (JD Motorsport).
First on track, Max Defourny set the early pace. Despite attacks from Hugo de Sadeleer, James Allen (JD Motorsport) and Sacha Fenestraz, the Belgian native set a lap of 2:02.985 early in the final hour. He led from Jehan Daruvala and James Allen. In the afternoon, Lando Norris went quickest while not threatening the benchmark time set by Defourny, who finished the second session fourth best. The Englishman was preceded by Hugo de Sadeleer and Jehan Daruvala.
FASTEST TIME FOR MAX DEFOURNY
“Once again, it was a good day. We set a good time in the morning before focusing on other things. Our time would have been better if we went with new tyres in the afternoon like everyone else, but the most important thing is that we continue to progress.”
LANDO NORRIS TOPS THE AFTERNOON TIME SHEET
“This was my first day at Circuit Paul Ricard. I didn’t prepare on the simulator - I usually do - so I needed some time to get used to everything, not like some drivers, especially those who have come over from the French F4 Championship who had already driven here. This morning, a few problems prevented me from going out when I needed to, but this afternoon was rather good despite a few mistakes on my run with new tyres.”
ROOKIE TO KEEP AN EYE ON: GABRIEL AUBRY EMERGES BEHIND LANDO NORRIS AND SACHA FENESTRAZ
“Formula Renault 2.0 is a really fine car to drive. Compared to my previous experiences, it is amazing and you really get the feeling you’re driving a single-seater. The transition from F4 to the Eurocup is somewhat complicated. The level is extremely high and you need time to adapt in order for the gaps to narrow. The hardest thing to do is get the absolute most out of the car. A small mistake can make you lose a lot.”
ADRIAN VALLES (AVF): “THE RIGHT STEP AFTER KARTING”
“For AVF, the Formula Renault 2.0 has always been the right step after karting. It is an excellent category where the drivers can learn their craft over two or three seasons before heading on to the bigger disciplines. Thanks to the incredible level of the championship and the many qualities of the car itself, former drivers have generally shown to be very fast like Nyck de Vries this year. The cost is also very reasonable. The competitors get a lot of track time without having to have a massive budget. We have been involved in karting for a long time and the advantage of the Formula Renault 2.0 for the young drivers is to be able to join a team where they can develop in a stable environment for two or three years before joining the Formula 3.5 V8 or other categories, at a lower cost than other series that have recently come on the scene. When you take these elements into account, it is easy to understand why we continue our participation in Formula Renault 2.0!”