26 competitors were on track for the first official Renault Sport Trophy collective tests. In ideal conditions, the drivers continued to learn more about their Renault Sport R.S. 01 on the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.
Steijn Schothorst first leader
History will note that Indy Dontje (ART Junior Team) was the first to head out onto the track in an official session of the all-new Renault Sport Trophy. In the opening hour, Steijn Schothorst broke the one-minute thirty second barrier, before improving to 1:29.980. The Dutchman held onto the top spot on the time sheet, ahead of Vittorio Ghirelli (Zele Racing), Bas Schothorst and Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing). Fifth quickest, Dario Capitanio was the quickest ‘‘Prestige’’ driver in front of Niccolò Nalio and Richard Gonda.
One Schothorst can hide another
2013 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Junior champion, Roy Geerts (V8 Racing) dominated the opening hour of the afternoon session. Federico Leo (V8 Racing), Vittorio Ghirelli and Steijn Schothorst succeeded him. In the final 30-minutes, David Fumanelli, Steijn Schothorst and Bas Schothorst battled for the best time, with Bas Schothorst taking the honours with a time of 1:30.277, ahead of the Italian and his cousin. Luciano Bacheta (Zele Racing) and Vittorio Ghirelli completed the top five. As he did in the morning session, Dario Capitanio led in his category, ahead of Niccoló Nalio and Toni Forné (ART Junior Team).
Steijn Schothorst : “It was a good day. Everyone discovered the car, its set-ups and behaviour. The essential point was : to learn. We set the best time, but that was not what was important today. There are two more days and a lot of work to do ! Having a roof over your head is radically different. I am used to open-wheel cars, and it is hard to feel the speed ! It was hot, but tomorrow will be a proper test with very high temperatures. The goal this year will be to have a good time with my father, who is sharing my car, and to score as many points as possible.”
Bas Schothorst : “It went well, in as much as I was called in at the last minute. We made good progress throughout the day, while being competitive. I find that the Renault Sport R.S. 01 delivers driving sensations worthy of an LM P2 prototype. It is really exciting to drive, especially with the late braking. The overall package is impressive and the balance is perfect. This race car will create super races, especially as there will be many young open-wheel talents on the grid.”
Dario Capitanio : “Today was about learning in hot conditions. With the two sprint races and endurance race format, I still must find the right feeling between the new and used tyres. It is somewhat delicate, but we have to more days for that, as well as finding a compromise with my team mate’s driving style. The performance can wait, what is essential is to be in harmony with the Renault Sport R.S. 01. It is a really fun car, with excellent braking and enormous grip in the corners. Step by step, I am finding mine and its limits, and it will be important to win the championship.”
Niccoló Nalio : “We worked a lot on the set-ups with used tyres. It is hard to find a solution that suits two drivers, but I work well with Luciano because we have the same feeling. We must continue to work in order to move up the hierarchy. I spent two years in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy and the Renault Sport R.S. 01is really different. It is faster and very easy to drive. It is simply amazing and I look forward to returning to the World Series by Renault in this car. I want to win the “Prestige” category because my dream is to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”