Max Defourny (ART Junior Team) set best time in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 collective tests at Circuito de Jerez. With a lap of 1:40.408 set in the morning session, the Belgian rookie led from Anthoine Hubert (Tech 1 Racing) for just a thousandth of a second. The fastest title contender on Friday, the driver of the FFSA ‘Equipe de France’ was followed by Ukyo Sasahara (ART Junior Team), Simon Gachet (Tech 1 Racing) and Amaury Richard (ARTA Engineering). Matevos Isaakyan (JD Motorsport) set the pace in the afternoon session.
Defourny by 0.001
The battle for the top spot began with Dennis Olsen (Manor MP Motorsport) and Max Defourny swapping the best time, but Ukyo Sasahara, Anthoine Hubert, Matevos Isaakyan and Vasily Romanov (Cram Motorsport) each took their turn at the sharp end of the order. In the waning minutes, the ARTA Engineering entries of James Allen and Amaury Richard began the final sprint that turned to the advantage of Max Defourny. The Belgian rookie clocked the best time of the day in 1:40.408, a thousandth of a second better than Anthoine Hubert. Ukyo Sasahara, Simon Gachet and Amaury Richard completed the top five.
Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP) set the first reference lap of the afternoon before the times began to fall under the impulse of Ukyo Sasahara and Max Defourny. Ignazio D’Agosto (Manor MP Motorsport), Martin Kodrić (Fortec Motorsports) and Ben Barnicoat (Fortec Motorsports) all spent time on P1 during the session. In the final 15 minutes, Matevos Isaakyan moved to the top of the time sheet. The SMP Racing protégé finished the session with a time of 1:41.665 to lead ahead of the best placed rookie Jehan Daruvala (Fortec Motorsports). Ignazio D’Agosto, Darius Oskoui (ART Junior Team) and Ben Barnicoat also finished in the top five.
Max Defourny: “As the strategies with new tyres were very different, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning when everyone will be on the same compound to see where we stack up. Nevertheless, we were competitive throughout the tests, both this morning and in the afternoon on used tyres. As a rookie and wild-card, I hope to get a good result. To get the pole and win a race would be a fine way to finish in style!”
Anthoine Hubert: “To finish second this morning and tenth without switching to new tyres this afternoon is a good start. We have done a good job and we will do everything this evening to be at 120% tomorrow. Saturday qualifying will be very important, perhaps the most decisive of the season, but I am not worried about our potential.”
Matevos Isaakyan: “The day went well. We are competitive, but we have to confirm our strong form. Last week in ALPS, we were also in a good position, but two red flags in qualifying ruined our chances. I am pleased with how Friday went and I am confident for tomorrow. I want to win, or at least finish on the podium, to show my speed.”