Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsports) and William Vermont (ARTA Engineering) were the stars of the show in Friday’s two Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective testing sessions at Spa-Francorchamps. After the Briton dominated in the rain, the Frenchman came to the fore on a drying track, leading Nyck De Vries (Koiranen GP) and Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam) home in the day’s one-two-three.
The conditions were treacherous as the drivers in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 field made their way out at a rainy Spa-Francorchamps, some of them getting their first taste of the track. No sooner had the action got under way than Gustav Malja (Josef Kaufmann Racing) came to a halt, prompting the red flag to come out.
Matthieu Vaxiviere (Tech 1 Racing) and Oliver Rowland (Manor MP Motorsport) traded fastest times before proceedings again came to a halt halfway through, Oscar Tunjo (Josef Kaufmann Racing) being the culprit this time. Comfortably installed at the top of the timesheets for much of the session, Oliver Rowland slid off on his final lap, by which time compatriot Jake Dennis had gone fastest with a time of 2:39.600. The British duo led the way from Nyck De Vries, Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing) and William Vermont, while championship leader Matthieu Vaxiviere (Tech 1 Racing) could do no better than ninth.
Steijn Schothorst (Josef Kaufmann Racing) set the early pace in the afternoon as the rain eased off and the lap times dropped. Victor Franzoni (Koiranen GP) then went fastest before prompting another red flag. When the drivers came out again William Vermont and Nyck De Vries swapped fastest laps before the session was brought to an early halt when Joffrey de Narda (ARTA Engineering) and Ukyo Sasahara (Euronova) both went off.
Thanks to a flying lap of 2:27.448, William Vermont ended the day on top, with Nyck de Vries, Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam), Guilherme Silva (Koiranen GP) and Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing) behind him.
What they said
Jake Dennis: “I’m delighted with my start to the weekend because there’s some stiff competition out there. The balance of the car was excellent in the conditions, and we’ve taken a step forward after Motorland. We need to build on that over the weekend.”
William Vermont: “The performance was there, both in the rain this morning and on a drying track in the afternoon. We were in the wet from the off and, with qualifying in mind, we decided to carry out a few tests with the tyres. We could see that we had the right tyres on at the right time, but the important thing is to come up with some good performances tomorrow.”
Benjamin Bailly: “Unfortunately I only managed to get one lap in at full pace before we had a problem. I feel we’re moving in the right direction and that we can make the top ten this weekend. I know the track like the back of my hand, and having the fans here just gives me that extra motivation to go and get results.”