After Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) yesterday, today it was the turn of Marco Sorensen (Gravity-Charouz) to take the limelight, setting the fastest lap of the day. The 21-year-old Dane is leaving Barcelona having set the fastest time in the two days of collective testing. Robin Frijns (ISR), the winner of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2011, had his first experience driving a Formula Renault 3.5., which he immediately looked comfortable in.
The end-of-season collective testing session took place in glorious Barcelona sunshine. There were several changes to the original entry list. Robin Frijns (ISR), the winner of the 2011 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, drove his first laps in a Formula Renault 3.5 for ISR. All five of the most recent Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champions – Brendon Hartley, Valtteri Bottas, Albert Costa, Kevin Korjus and Robin Frijns – were in attendance today, but only Bottas and Frijns were out on track.
The winner of the 2011 F3 Brazil Open, Lucas Foresti, drove for Comtec Racing yesterday but switched to Tech 1 Racing today. Nico Müller took the seat of Jean-Eric Vergne on the day it was confirmed the Frenchman will drive a Toro Rosso in Friday’s free practice sessions for the Korean, Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grands Prix. The Chinese driver Adderly Fong made his debut for Comtec Racing. César Ramos, meanwhile, had his debut drive for Epic Racing. At International Draco Racing, Daniel de Jong was accompanied by Giovanni Venturini. Finally, Adrien Tambay was behind the wheel of a KMP Racing car, but had to stop after around 20 laps due to ongoing back problems.
It was an incredible start to the morning. The drivers took advantage of the cool temperatures to put on fresh rubber. Arthur Pic (P1 Motorsport), Kevin Magnussen and Marco Sorensen fought hard for the top two places. Marco Sorensen, who finished second in the ATS Formula-3-Cup this season, recorded the best time with a 1:32.815 after the first hour of testing, improving on the leading time set by Kevin Magnussen late on Tuesday. The drivers then went out for long stints, but the hierarchy remained unchanged. Marco Sorensen finished the morning in the lead ahead of Arthur Pic, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Comtec Racing), Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Abt (Pons Racing).
With temperatures rising to more than 34ºC, the drivers were in no rush to go out for the afternoon session. Robin Frijns took the opportunity to complete several laps and gradually improve his best time. He spent most of the afternoon in the lead. The final set of new tyres were worn by the end of the session. Arthur Pic and Marco Sorensen once again fought each other to set the fastest time, with Pic winning the battle. However, Kevin Magnussen went quickest right at the end of the session, setting a time of 1:33.728. But he was unable to beat the leading time set by his compatriot during the morning session.
Marco Sorensen: “I’ve only ever driven a Formula Renault 3.5 once, back in 2009, after my first season in Formula Renault 2.0. Today I have more experience, particularly in F3, but there’s a big difference in performance between the two cars. Yesterday I had to find my feet again and get to know the team. Very early in the morning we put on new tyres and it worked. Next season will be interesting, because with the new car all the teams will be starting from scratch. We have to be ready!”
Arthur Pic: “It’s positive to discover a new team and a new approach. I’ve driven nearly 150 laps in two days, so we’ve had a really busy schedule. When we’ve been able to use the new tyres we’ve set some good times. After a season as an apprentice, the logical step is to continue in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, but I don’t yet know with which team.”
Robin Frijns: “Today was my first day in the car. I’ve never driven such a powerful car. So today’s goal was to build up my confidence lap by lap. The cornering speed is rather impressive and physically the car is so much more demanding than Formula Renault 2.0. My neck hurts… I improved throughout the day, even sending the car into a spin. But that’s part of the learning curve! The €500,000 prize I received from Renault Sport Technologies for winning my title was very handy. But I still need to raise more funds for 2012. We’re working on that now.”