With the summer break finished, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 resumed on Friday. After a wet start to the morning session, the 33 drivers in the field enjoyed a dry track in the afternoon. Nyck de Vries, who won his first single-seat race this summer in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, put in an impressive performance to record the fastest lap of the day. Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) and Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing), currently scrapping for the title, will be keeping a close eye on him this weekend.
The field was split into two groups for collective testing, with Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship leader Daniil Kvyat in the first and Stoffel Vandoorne in the second. There were several changes to the list of entrants for this first outing after the summer break. Steijn Schothorst, who won a race this summer in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC at Most, joined Fortec Motorsports. Aurélien Panis (RC Formula) made his Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 debut thanks to a wildcard, as did Felipe Fraga (Tech 1 Racing). Tanart Sathienthirakul (Manor MP Motorsport), meanwhile, made his return to the competition having already appeared at the Nürburgring.
Conditions were wet as the first group took to the track, and, after a few warm-up laps, the first sets of slick tyres came out. Norman Nato (RC Formula), Felipe Fraga and Paul-Loup Chatin (Tech 1 Racing) led the way but, at the end of the session, it was Daniil Kvyat who grabbed the fastest time in group one with a lap of 1:50.613.
The drivers in group two opted for slicks from the start, and the pace was quicker from the outset. Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) lapped in 1:45.968 to lead from Esteban Ocon (Koiranen Motorsport) and Stoffel Vandoorne, but the session was then interrupted after Roman Mavlanov (Tech 1 Racing) went off. The track was then cleared but the rain soon returned, which meant that there were no further changes to the standings.
The Hungaroring track dried out in the afternoon and, with a lap of 1:45.150, Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufmann Racing) wasted no time improving on the benchmark time set by Oliver Rowland in the morning session. The Spaniard’s effort gave an indication of the track’s pace, and his rivals were quick to follow his lead. Several improvements followed, but it was Daniil Kvyat who finished top once again with a lap of 1:43.766, ahead of Oscar Tunjo (Tech 1 Racing) and Alex Riberas.
The second group responded strongly, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Rowland monopolising top spot for most of the second session. However, Nyck de Vries enjoyed an excellent final few minutes to the session, the McLaren Development Programme recording the fastest lap of the day in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 with a time of 1:43.499.
What they said:
Nyck de Vries: Thibaut de Mérindol, the R-Ace GP team manager, has insisted since the start of the season that we do well in free practice. So I’m happy to have recorded the best time today. My only regret is that I made one or two mistakes on my second flying lap. My goal for the remainder of the season is to become more consistent.
Steijn Schothorst: I’m finding my feet in a new team this weekend, and as a result the car is a bit different. We’ll need to learn how to work together. I recorded my first victory in the Formula Renault 2.0 this summer, at Most in the Czech Republic. It’s a first step, and I must now continue to improve at a higher level, in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.