The final day of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective testing turned out well for George Russell (Koiranen GP). The future Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS driver went quickest on the wet track at Circuito de Jerez. His time of 1:46.256 put him ahead of Max Verstappen (Manor MP Motorsport) and Matt Parry (Fortec Motorsports). Alexander Albon (KTR) set the fastest time in the morning session. The drivers and teams are now less than a month away from the opening round of the season at Motorland Aragón.
On this, the final day of testing, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers could complete their preparations for the first race of the year. The weather provided hitherto unfamiliar conditions for the category, with rain falling for the first time this year.
In the morning, Mathéo Tuscher (China BRT by JCS) was the first to tackle the wet track. George Russell followed suit, but then both men saw Alexander Albon grab the lead. As the drivers tested the durability of their wet-weather tyres, the Thai driver’s mark of 1:53.306 remained unbeaten at the end of a session during which four drivers ran off into the gravel, caught out by the wet conditions, resulting in as many interruptions. The Lotus F1 Junior Team member thus finished ahead of Ignazio D’Agosto (Koiranen GP), Steijn Schothorst (Manor MP Motorsport), Matt Parry and Andrea Pizzitola (Manor MP Motorsport).
As the track dried out, times improved significantly in the afternoon. The session’s first leader, Vasily Romanov (Tech 1 Racing) was quickly dislodged by his team-mate Egor Orudzhev, and then by Max Verstappen, Andrea Pizzitola and George Russell. In the next twenty minutes, Dennis Olsen (Prema Powerteam), Matt Parry, Jack Aitken (Fortec Motorsports), Max Verstappen and Aurélien Panis (ART Junior Team) all took turns to top the timesheets. Alexander Albon grabbed the lead after putting on slicks, but George Russell improved his best time to 1:46.256. After the session was red-flagged midway through the afternoon due an incident involving Nicholas Surguladze (Koiranen GP), rain started to fall again, preventing any further improvements in the lap times. George Russell therefore finished ahead of Max Verstappen, Matt Parry, Jack Aitken and Andrea Pizzitola at the end of a session cut short after Anthoine Hubert (Tech 1 Racing) went off.
The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 field will now meet up again at Motorland Aragón for the start of season ten of the World Series by Renault, on 25-27 April.
What they said
George Russell: “Yesterday, we were already pretty quick in dry conditions, although the times could have been better if the session hadn’t been red-flagged during my final run on new tyres. Despite the rain today, it has been a very good day. We managed to get the most out of the tyres at the right time. That augurs well for the start of my season in Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS.”
Matt Parry: “Although I wasn’t expecting as much rain, the day went well. When the conditions are like this, there is an element of luck involved in setting a good time. Testing has gone well, except for when I ran off into the gravel yesterday. I can’t wait to start the competition, to come back and race wheel-to-wheel with the other guys in racing conditions and in sessions where everyone is using the same tyres at the same time!”
Alexander Albon: “I don’t think I have seen it rain at Jerez before. The conditions were very difficult, but we found the right pace this morning after running into a few problems yesterday with the set-up. In the afternoon, we made the right choice in putting on slicks first, but it started to rain again just as we were waiting for the track to improve. Although we still need to learn about the new tyres, I feel confident.”
Ignazio D’Agosto: “This morning, I managed to put in a good lap at the right time. This afternoon, the track was drying out and getting faster with each run. Unfortunately, I had put on slicks just before it started raining again. Our race simulations were very good, so I feel fairly confident about our chances for the championship.”
Andrea Pizzitola: “Today’s rain gave us the chance to reacquaint ourselves with conditions that we last saw at the Paul Ricard meeting in September last year. Unfortunately, we put on the slicks too late, but the performance level is definitely there. We have been consistently near the front, so I feel confident for the coming season.”