In his first appearance in the Formula Renault Eurocup, David Vidales (JD Motorsport) set best time in the collective tests at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari d’Imola that will host this coming November 1st a Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Spaniard posted Friday’s benchmark time with a lap of 1:40.141s ahead of team mate William Alatalo (JD Motorsport) and Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix), who was fastest in a rain-affected afternoon session.
On Thursday, the drivers discovered or rediscovered one of the few counter-clockwise tracks on the calendar with four sessions on the programme.
Alatalo to the fourth power
In heatwave-like conditions, William Alatalo dominated Thursday with the fastest lap in all four sessions. The rookie from Finland ended the day atop the timing screen with a time of 1:42.347s, 0.052s ahead of his new team mate David Vidales.
Behind the JD Motorsport duo, it was the ART Grand Prix trio of Paul Aron, Victor Martins and Grégoire Saucy. Victor Martins and William Alatalo were the only drivers to finish in the top five in each session.
Vidales in the dry, Martins in the storm
On Friday morning, William Alatalo looked ready to keep his streak going before the final sprint run that was kicked-off by Paul Aron, following the red flag caused by Joey Alders (MP Motorsport). The Finn answered back, but David Vidales went even quicker with a lap of 1:40.141s before a second stoppage provoked by Petr Ptáček (R-ace GP).The running order stood pat in the final seven minutes and David Vidales held on to the top spot ahead of his team mate, Victor Martins, Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport).
The weather changed radically in the afternoon with rain storms for the final session. In these conditions, Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport), Victor Martins and Michael Belov (M2 Competition) took turns at the top as the rain intensified. Following a red flag needed for cleaning the track, the times improved on each lap, with Victor Martins posting the best time of 1:54.455s as the chequered flag waved. The Frenchman was followed by Grégoire Saucy and Caio Collet, while Franco Colapinto and Paul Aron rounded out the top five.
Tomorrow, the drivers will battle in qualifying at 10:40. The start for race one of the weekend will be at 15:10.
David Vidales (JD Motorsport): "I am thrilled with my first few laps in the Formula Renault FR-19. I tested with a similar car, but the tyres and engine were different so I really didn’t know what to expect. However, right from the first session, it felt awesome behind the wheel and our work enabled us to be at the front of the field and make progress in all areas. The team is fantastic both with the car and with me. To be honest, I feel like I’ve been part of their family for years and it’s great to work in such a terrific atmosphere. We have been fast in the dry, I have had some wet driving and I think we can keep the momentum going. I am confident heading into my first qualifying session in the Formula Renault Eurocup!"
William Alatalo (JD Motorsport): "Everyone in the team has been doing a great job since Thursday. It’s good to see that David has adapted quickly to the car. It’s always a plus to be able to count on a good team-mate, to have a reference point and improve together. Yesterday, my target was to be the fastest and I did it. I’ll have to do it again in qualifying while maintaining a constant pace in the race. I believe that these will be the keys to win tomorrow."
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "This is my first time to Imola and I really like this track which reminds me of a karting track. It’s a track where you use the curbs a lot compared to the more traditional tracks and it’s quite nice. Everything is going well so far. The important thing was to have a good start to the weekend and that’s what we’ve done by being consistently in the top five since the beginning. We also showed that we were fast in all conditions. Tomorrow the sun and the heat should be back. We will have to get back into the rhythm quickly, re-focus and apply everything that we learned yesterday and this morning!"