After Will Palmer’s best time yesterday, R-ace GP kept the momentum going in the Formula Renault Eurocup collective tests at Circuit Paul Ricard with Robert Shwartzman leading the way with a lap of 2:06.359. The SMP Racing protégé was followed by Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing). Renault Sport Academy member, Jarno Opmeer (MP Motorsport) was fourth and top rookie of the day. Red Bull Junior Team driver, Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport) was fastest in the morning in wet conditions.
Rain showers welcomed the drivers this morning for the first session that concluded with Zane Goddard (Arden Motorsport) on top. But the Australian lost the honour of best time for not respecting track limits. His team mate Daniel Ticktum inherited P1 with a time of 2:22.743 ahead of fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport). Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) was third followed by Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Will Palmer.
After two hours of calm in the afternoon, the drivers shod slick tyres for the final hour. Robert Shwartzman took command with the best lap of the session in 2:06.359 ahead of Henrique Chaves and Sacha Fenestraz. Rookies Jarno Opmeer and Raúl Guzmán (R-ace GP) completed the top five.
The Formula Renault Eurocup drivers and teams finished the day with 25 minutes devoted to standing starts before they head to the Nürburgring on March 29 and 30.
Chaves, number 13 is ready
Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) : “Over the winter I worked both in the simulator and at home to be more competitive. I hope that our second time of the day shows that. There is more work to do at the Nürburgring to begin the season in attack mode, but I am confident. This will be my third campaign with the team, and the second in the Formula Renault Eurocup. We have practically become a family where I have the needed confidence to be quick. As for the number 13, it has been linked to my family for a long time. It’s a way of honouring them, and there are no superstitions, quite the opposite !”
Vartanyan comfortable in the rain
Alexander Vartanyan (JD Motorsport) : “The day went well. I was more comfortable in the rainy conditions running among the leaders. In the dry, we didn’t go for new tyres, but our times were still solid. I feel I am progressing step by step with the team and my team mates. I am satisfied with that as my learning curve will determine the rest of my season !”
Double top ten for Goddard
Zane Goddard (Arden Motorsport) : “I am satisfied with my pre-season testing so far. There’s still a bit of catch-up in terms of experience gap, but the team is competitive and we are improving in each session, no matter the track conditions. The Formula Renault 2.0 is a nice car and really fun to drive. It allows drivers to attack on every lap. This year, my main objective will be to continue to progress against a very competitive field. You have to take on the best to get the best out of yourself !”
Fortec Motorsports shows its confidence
Martin Young, Team Manager : “We were really satisfied at Magny-Cours in regularly putting two drivers in the top ten. The tests at Circuit Paul Ricard confirmed our form with Alexey in the top five as soon as he was on track. This shows our competitiveness while allowing us to work with our rookies. Everything is new or so for Frank and Najiy, but they are making progress while Alex continues to discover the Formula Renault Eurocup. There is still some work to do, but I am confident in our ability to be in the top ten at Monza.”