The Renault R.S. 01 #3 of the R-ace GP team topped the time sheet at the end of the final day of the pre-season collective tests for the Renault Sport Trophy. With their best lap of 1:34.749 on the Circuito Estoril, which will host the season finale of the category in October, Kevin Korjus and Fredrik Blomstedt led from Dario Capitanio and Ash Hand (Oregon Team #1) and the tandem of Raoul Owens and Toni Forné (R-ace GP #2). Fourth at one-tenth of a second, Pieter and Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #21) were quickest in the morning. The Renault Sport Trophy competitors will next be in action at the season opening round on April 15-17 at Motorland Aragón.
Bothered by intermittent rain showers, the start of the morning session was dominated by Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9) before Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing #11) switch to slick tyres in the final hour. The pace progressively accelerated and Pieter Schothorst came out on top with a best time of 1:38.156 ahead of Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0, 0 #15) and the pairing of Kevin Korjus – Fredrik Blomstedt.
On a bone-dry track in the afternoon, it only took a half an hour to see the times improve. At the end of third hour, Kevin Korjus and Fredrik Blomstedt stopped the clock in 1:34.749, which remained the time to beat despite the tries of his rivals, who all came up short by a mere one-tenth of a second.
Dario Capitanio is ready for his new PRO challenge
“I feel ready for another season with the Renault Sport R.S. 01. While the car is the exactly the same, the level of competition is higher. The idea of me taking on such competitive drivers is exciting. The results of our tests is mixed, but we worked non-stop on the set-ups to understand the car on these new tracks, put in good times and find the ideal rhythm. I had never been to Estoril before and this bumpy track requires very different set-ups than modern circuits. There is still work to do, but I am confident. We are not that far behind our rivals!”
Fran Rueda among the outsiders
“At Motorland Aragón, I had to get used to a car with this much downforce and power. When you come from touring cars, there are a lot of differences, but I am feeling more and more comfortable with each run. Up until today, we focused on running on used tyres before using a set of fresh rubber this afternoon. Thanks to the set-up we went with we put in a good lap. Tanart and I come from different cultures, but he is a quick lad, who I like. Everything should go well, although it is something new for me to share my car!”
Peter Utoft (Team Manager, High Class Racing): Looking forward to competing in our first race
“During these four days of collective tests, we ran our first kilometres with our Renault Sport R.S. 01. It is a proper race car and very different to a GT3. It is more like a formula and the Renault Sport Trophy is a very high-level attractive category when you consider what it costs. I would define it as a high-end car. We had a minor problem at Motorland Aragón with an accident that cost us track time, but all in all, it was very positive. We are not fixing any particular objective for our first season. We will take things as they come and we are very much looking forward to competing in our first race and join the Renault family.”