It was at the Austrian Red Bull Ring circuit, which will play host to the fourth meeting in the 2013 World Series by Renault, that the collective testing for the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup took place. At the end of the two days, Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing) had set the best time, ahead of Nyck de Vries (Koiranen GP) and Ignazio d’Agosto (KTR). The young drivers are now ready for the start of the season, in 10 days’ time at Motorland Aragón (Spain).
Initially scheduled for the end of the month of March, these two days of collective testing were postponed until 15th and 16th April due to poor weather conditions. The Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup teams were met with clement weather conditions for this final test session before the first races get underway.
On Monday morning, Esteban Ocon (ART Junior Team), Nyck de Vries (Koiranen GP) and Luca Ghiotto (Prema Powerteam) were the first to circulate. After a red flag due to Javier Merlo (Manor MP Motorsport) having an excursion into the gravel, Steijn Schothorst (Josef Kaufmann Racing) was the first to break the lap record set by the 2012 version of Formula Renault 2.0, before improving upon that with a 1’29’’992. He remained at the top of the time sheets until the session was red-flagged following Andrea Pizzitola (ART Junior Team) leaving the track in spectacular style.
After a mainly uneventful start, the afternoon session was the stage for a succession of improved times. Steijn Schothorst was once again one of the quickest, but it was Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam), Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing), Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsports) and William Vermont (Arta Engineering) who stood out lap after lap. They were joined at the end of the session by Nyck de Vries, who bested the fastest time of the day by three tenths, setting a 1’29’’694.
Having found a good rhythm the day before, Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries occupied the top of the timing monitors again on Tuesday morning. The Tech 1 Racing driver made a big splash by being the first to drop below the 1’29’’ mark with a lap time of 1’28’’885. Nyck de Vries was not able to improve upon 1’29’’211.
The afternoon session was mainly taken up with race simulations, with each team working to improve on the first test of the year. Jake Dennis set the best time with a 1’29’’511, ahead of Oliver Rowland (Manor MP Motorsport, 1’29’’659). It’s now at Motorland Aragón that the drivers will be able to see how they measure up, for the season opener (26-28 May).
What they had to say:
Pierre Gasly: “It’s very satisfying because we approached these tests methodically. Firstly, we tested various solutions on the first day, before finding the best settings and fitting new tyres the day after. It’s conclusive because I finished with the best overall time. I’m confident but it’s very close this year, we can’t afford to let anything go in terms of development and improvements if we are to finish in a good position at Motorland.”
Nyck de Vries: “These tests have been very interesting, we have been able to put in a lot of laps and refine our settings before the first meet of the year. I also set some decent times, which means we are looking at the start of the season with confidence. This circuit is great fun and I can’t wait to return here for the World Series by Renault meeting.”
Ignazio d’Agosto: “The tests went very well and we have been able to follow our development programme. At the race meeting, it will be different because we will have little time to prepare our cars in free testing. We will have to prove ourselves to be fast very early on. But it’s always a good sign to appear in the top 5 during the final preparation session. We now need to continue to work on the driving and the settings to feature in the top five again at Motorland.”
William Vermont: “Our hard work in testing is paying off. We carried out several tests on scrubs before switching to new tyres and setting decent times. I loved this circuit with its series of fast bends.”