For the first day of the collective test, eight teams and their respective drivers were present at Circuito de Jerez to finish their preparation for the 2015 season.
Hubert sets a new record
Anthoine Hubert and team mates Simon Gachet and Hugo de Sadeleer were the early leaders before Ukyo Sasahara took over. After a short interruption, the Frenchman responded, as did Ben Barnicoat, the first to pass under the 1:40 barrier. The Japanese driver answered back, but at the mid-way point of the session, Anthoine Hubert broke the track record. His lap of 1:39.582 assured him the quickest time ahead of Ukyo Sasahara, Ben Barnicoat, Simon Gachet and Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP).
Barnicoat by 8/1000ths of a second
45 minutes ticked off the clock before the engine of Mathias Kristensen (JD Motorsport) broke the silence. Bruno Baptista (Koiranen GP), the defending Sudamericana F4 Champion and entered in the ALPS this year, and Anthoine Hubert each spent time on top of the time sheet. With ten minutes remaining in the session, Darius Oskoui (ART Junior Team) moved to the top of the order before Ben Barnicoat went quicker with a lap of 1:40.480, just 8/1000ths of a second ahead of Ukyo Sasahara. Darius Oskoui, Anthoine Hubert and Harrison Scott (AVF) were next. Mathias Kristensen, Amaury Richard (ARTA Engineering), Simon Gachet, Anton De Pasquale and Lasse Sørensen (Manor MP Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Anthoine Hubert : “This morning, we were always in front. This afternoon, we were not expecting to be as well placed as we were on used tyres. It was a positive day ; the record is a small bonus. With Simon and Hugo, there is a good atmosphere in the team, we share a lot. This allows us to work well together and progress faster !”
Ukyo Sasahara : “Honestly, I am a little disappointed ! This morning, we could have gained several tenths. This was due to the set-up, but I was also responsible. The session was all the same productive and positive. In the afternoon, we had a few problems that cost us a lot of time. It was somewhat difficult to adjust my driving between used and new tyres ! I could have finished the two sessions on top, but it is just testing ! I look forward to being on top at Motorland. Since December, the relationship with the team has been good ; we all understand each other better and better, which is promising. The objective is to fight for the title. I haven’t yet won with the Formula Renault 2.0 and I want to win ! And to do that, nothing is more important than work.”
Ben Barnicoat : “We struggled a bit with the new tyres this morning, and we did a race simulation this afternoon. In switching to fresh rubber, we tried something different that worked well. I hope with new Michelin’s tomorrow we will have good pace. Overall, I am happy with the day. Consistency is going to be key, and the simulation was really good. Each lap, from the best to the slowest, was within a half second. It’s great, especially as my fastest time was good given the tyres conditions and the fuel load.”
Anton De Pasquale : “It was quite good this afternoon. We didn’t run much in order to do some simulations and save the tyres for tomorrow. The times reflect our progress towards the first race of the season. The goal is still to win as much as possible, but for this first year in Formula Renault 2.0, the objective is to finish in the top ten and move up the hierarchy during the year. Consistency will be important, but so will speed. I am learning thanks to my team mates who are quite experienced and quick.”