Will Palmer (R-ace GP) put the fastest lap on the opening day of the Formula Renault Eurocup collective tests at Circuit Paul Ricard. The British driver set the time of the day in 2:04.385 to lead from team mates Max Defourny (R-ace GP) and Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP). Fifth overall, Red Bull Junior Team driver, Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) was the quickest rookie.
The Formula Renault Eurocup competitors were greeted this morning by a drying track surface. While Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing) made the most of the conditions to move to the top of the time sheet, the Frenchman’s best laps were not counted following the weigh in. Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) took over the top spot ahead of Thomas Maxwell (Tech 1 Racing), Grégoire Saucy (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Red Bull Junior Team driver Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport).
In the afternoon, the drivers gradually switched from rain rubber to slicks. In the final hour, Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing) was the first to beat the morning’s best time, but the pace increased with Will Palmer stopping the clock in 2:04.385. His team mates Max Defourny and Robert Shwartzman were next with Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Richard Verschoor completing the top five.
Palmer betting on continuity
Will Palmer (R-ace GP): “It was a solid day. We were on top for a long time when the track was wet in the morning, but the rain returned while we were still in the pits. We made the most of the dry conditions late in the day to post the best time. Compared to last year, I think have progressed in many areas. After a first season punctuated with a win and another podium result, the title is clearly the goal. The continuity, which I have in stating with the same team to work with the same engineer and mechanics, will help me reach this objective.”
Fenestraz wants to sort pretenders from the contenders
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “The morning was quite good, but Gabriel was also very fast despite his weigh in problem! As we were worried about the rain returning this afternoon, we went out earlier than the others. The result is nevertheless positive and we saved a set of tyres compared to our rivals. The goal is to be ahead at Monza. We are concentrating on this aspect. A lot of drivers are aiming for the title and there will be some disappointed guys! We, on the other hand, will do our best to be in the top three at the end of a season that promises to be exciting when you look at the calibre of drivers and the fantastic calendar.”
Verschoor, best time among the rookies
Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport): “Circuit Paul Ricard is a rather difficult track to learn. I learned a lot to gradually put things in place. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come to catch up to the leaders thanks to the new experience we acquired. I am not fixing a target for this season, but like every race driver, I want to win. It will be hard, but we will battle to get there. Despite its year away, the MP Motorsport team has a lot of experience. I trust them and we will achieve this by working with my team mates and the entire structure."
Tech 1 Racing is satisfied
Sarah Abadie, Team Manager: “The tests up until now have been very satisfying for Tech 1 Racing. All of our drivers are progressing, whether it is Gabriel or his team mates who are new to the Formula Renault Eurocup. We worked on our cars during the winter with the aim of recapturing the European title. Gabriel Aubry will be our leader and his association with Max Fewtrell should prove effective. It is also rewarding to receive the trust of organizations like the Renault Sport Academy who entrusted Max to us. Thomas Neubauer and Thomas Maxwell are also becoming more and more solid. We are looking forward to being at the Nürburgring to confirm all our observations before getting on with the business at the first qualifications and season-opening race!"