Less than a week after the Silverstone round, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 returned to action at the Nürburgring. And once again, a category track record was broken during the collective tests when Ukyo Sasahara (ART Junior Team) posted a time of 1:55.584, erasing the previous best set by Alexandre Albon. The Japanese driver led from the leader in the general classification, Louis Delétraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing), and Jack Aitken (Koiranen GP). Darius Oskoui (ART Junior Team) was the highest positioned rookie while Ferdinand Habsburg (Fortec Motorsports) was quickest in the morning session, just six days after his spectacular accident in Great Britain.
Habsburg by a hair
This morning, Dan Ticktum (Koiranen GP) posted the opening benchmark time before Matevos Isaakyan (JD Motorsport), Max Defourny (ART Junior Team) and Ukyo Sasahara each spent time at the sharp end of the order. At the mid-way point, Louis Delétraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) took over, but was imitated by Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP) then Ignazio D’Agosto (Manor MP Motorsport), but it was rookie Ferdinand Habsburg who slotted into P1 with a time of 1:57.309. Six days after his spectacular accident at Silverstone, he led from Louis Delétraz, Jake Hughes, Ignazio D’Agosto and Ukyo Sasahara in a session where less than one second covered the top 26 drivers.
The Sasahara Express
In the afternoon, Louis Delétraz was first to beat the morning reference time of Ferdinand Habsburg. Ukyo Sasahara was next atop the time sheet, but the leader in the general classification pulled out a gap before the mid-way point. In the final ten minutes, Matevos Isaakyan and Jack Aitken began the final runs and when it was all said and done, Ukyo Sasahara has set a new track record of 1:55.584, ahead of Louis Delétraz, Jack Aitken, Kevin Jörg (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Ben Barnicoat (Fortec Motorsports). Ninth quickest, Darius Oskoui was best among the rookies.
Ukyo Sasahara: “We were on pace right from the start of the two sessions. It still isn’t perfect on new tyres, but the team did a great job for me to set the best time. We’ll try to do the same tomorrow. We’re not thinking about points; we want do our best this weekend to go for the win and catch the other contenders.”
Louis Delétraz: “Following a very difficult weekend at Silverstone where we were competitive, but where I missed qualifying twice, the morning session went well. We were on fresh tyres and I set second best time, just a few one thousands from the leader. In the afternoon session I was on top and only Ukyo managed to go faster when we all switched to new tyres. It’s been a positive day after the joker I used in Great Britain.”
Ferdinand Habsburg: “The best time this morning shows that I’m still comfortable in the car after my huge accident at Silverstone. Neither the new car nor I had the slightest problem. We were also strong in the afternoon and we saw what needs to be improved on the setup and done for qualifying. It was a good session, very consistent, which is a positive ahead of the race. We still need to analyse the data, but a massive thanks to the team for having built a good car after what happened.”