Following six days of winter testing this year, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 kicked off the 2016 season today. Max Defourny (R-ace GP) topped the time sheet with a lap of 1:55.905. The 2015 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC rookie of the year led from the Josef Kaufmann Racing duo of newcomer Lando Norris and Sahara Force India Academy protégé, Jehan Daruvala.
The Motorland Aragón circuit is host to the first meeting on the 2016 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 calendar. Friday’s collective tests consisted of two 50 minute sessions.
Jehan Daruvala, first leader of the year
Under bright skies, Bruno Baptista (Fortec Motorsports) was the first to post a lap time, which was soon bettered by Will Palmer (R-ace GP) before the stoppage caused by Alessandro Perullo (Technorace). The Brit then swapped best time with Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing) before the Josef Kaufmann Racing duo of Lando Norris and Jehan Daruvala as well as Max Defourny took turns at the top.
Long-time leader, Max Defourny improved late in the session, but Jehan Daruvala beat his time by 0.03s, thanks to a lap of 1:56.150. Harrison Scott (AVF by Adrián Vallés) was third quickest ahead of the best placed rookie in the session, Lando Norris, and Dorian Boccolacci.
Defourny leading the Kaufmanns
In the afternoon, Max Defourny quickly set the pace, but was then overtaken by Jehan Daruvala just before mid-session. With 10-minutes remaining, Alexey Korneev (JD Motorsport) kicked off the final sprint, which resulted in Max Defourny setting best time of the day in 1:55.905.
The Belgian driver was followed by Lando Norris and Jehan Daruvala. Julien Falchero (R-ace GP) and Dorian Boccolacci completed the top five in a session, determining the qualifying groups. The even-numbered placed drivers make up group B, while the odd-numbered placed drivers are in group A.
Max Defourny: “The day went rather well. We were always on pace early on, but we’ll have to see tomorrow in qualifying. It looks promising, although after my contracture of the neck last week, it still pulls, mostly in turn 10. It was getting worse throughout the session, so we’ll see how it goes in the race.”
Lando Norris: “The first session wasn’t perfect, but we were able to accomplish what we had planned to do. I then finished the second session a tenth of a second off the leader. The conditions are very different than what we’ve had up until now. Everything changes very quickly. It took us a little time to get used, because we didn’t have the wind we had last week. In any case, I will do the best I can to lead my group in qualifying.”
Jehan Daruvala: “We got a good start to the weekend, especially this morning. The car was fantastic right from the first lap. We set the best time of the first session before being among the best on both types of tyres. I wasn’t expecting to put in my best run right from my first lap on new rubber. It was a bit of a surprise because I wasn’t 100%. In any case, we’re looking strong for tomorrow.”