Part of the Formula 1 calendar from 1980 to 2006, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is a counter-clockwise and very technical circuit that doesn’t allow for a moments respite with its chicanes and complex strings of corners. To get a handle on this challenge, the competitors will have three 55-minutes collective tests ahead of the weekend qualifying and races.
A four-way battle for the PRO leader spot
With just one race on the programme, the battle for the driver selection test organised by the official Super GT NISMO team promises to heat up. Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing) comes into the weekend on point in the classification, but Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP), Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) and Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing) will all try to wrestle the lead away from him.
Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) will be looking to win in order to stay in contention, as will Roy Geerts (V8 Racing) and David Fumanelli (Oregon Team), who finished just off the podium in Spain. For their part, Raoul Owens (R-ace GP), Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) and Meindert van Buuren (V8 Racing) all want to get back in the hunt.
The weekend will however already be crucial for Bruno Bonifacio (Oregon Team), Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing) and 2015 Prestige category champion, Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team), all of whom left Spain empty-handed. Englishman Josh Webster (V8 Racing), who has titles in both the Formula Renault BARC and in the British Porsche Carrera Cup, will debut in place of Jordan Grogor, who will be in action at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix.
Schiller invincible despite ballast ?
In AM, the cards are redistributed with the appearance of ballast that was calculated following the first meeting. Twice-winner in Spain, Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) will be gunning for a third victory in a row in spite of having to carry an additional 40kg of ballast. His closest rival and team mate, Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) will be saddled with the same handicap while third and fifth overall, Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) and Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing), will deal with 20 and 10kg.
Finishing in the points in her maiden outing, Renault Sport Ambassador, Sport Carmen Jordá (V8 Racing) will be aiming to do better, as will Andrés Mendez (Oregon Team), Ash Hand (Oregon Team) and Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing). Meanwhile, Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP), Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur), Davide Roda (Oregon Team) and Toni Forné (R-ace GP) will be looking to score their first points of the season.
Three competitors will make their debut at Imola. At Strakka Racing, Nick Leventis will take over from Tim Sugden. At V8 Racing, Oliver Freymuth will replace Max Braams for his return into the Renault Sport categories.
Will Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 keep the momentum going in Endurance ?
Victorious in Spain, Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 will try to repeat despite the success ballast added to its crews of Markus Palttala - Fabian Schiller and Tanart Sathienthirakul - Fran Rueda, as this time the AM drivers will start the Endurance race.
The Roy Geerts - Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) and Nicky Pastorelli - Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing) Renault Sport R.S. 01s will also run with a weight handicap. Both duo will try to score their first points despite an extra 20 and 10kg.
The R-ace GP team will try to make the most of it with Kevin Korjus – Fredrik Blomstedt and Raoul Owens - Toni Forné, second and fourth in the general classification.
The French team will have to contend with the ambitions of their rivals, which include Pieter and Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur), Anders Fjordbach - Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing) as well as the Oregon Team, which will try to score its first win of the season on home soil with David Fumanelli - Ash Hand, Dario Capitanio - Davide Roda and Bruno Bonifacio - Andrés Mendez.
Imola will also be the chance to see how the new driver pairings of Josh Webster – Carmen Jordá and Meindert van Buuren - Oliver Freymuth at V8 Racing as well as Lewis Williamson - Nick Leventis at Strakka Racing.
Animations and TV
Admission is free and fans can gain access to the paddock for €10. The Renault Sport Show demonstrations will entertain the public between the Renault Sport Trophy, European Le Mans Series and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup races.
In the Village where the Renault range will be on display, there will be plenty of attractions for spectators including a pit stop challenge.
The three races over the weekend will be streamed on the Renault Sport Youtube channel before being aired on a delayed basis on the Eurosport group channels.
Friday 13 May 2016
9h30 – 10h25 Collective test 1
13h30 – 14h25 Collective test 2
17h45 – 18h40 Collective test 3
Saturday 14 May 2016
9h00 – 9h20 Qualifying PRO
12h10 – 12h30 Qualifying AM
15h07 – 16h19 Endurance Race
Sunday 15 May 2016
9h12 – 9h39 Sprint Race AM
12h27 – 12h54 Sprint Race PRO