With the best time on a wet track in the morning then in the dry this afternoon, Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport) was the man to beat in the Formula Renault Eurocup collective tests at Monza. The Italian, on his home circuit, led Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport) and rookie Kush Maini (M2 Competition) ahead of the first qualifying session of the season. With 17 drivers in the same second, qualifying promises to be extremely competitive!
The drivers had three hours of testing divided into four sessions on Thursday. In constant rain conditions, Lorenzo Colombo posted the fastest lap of the day in 2:03.818s.
This morning, the showers continued for the opening collective test. The R-ace GP trio led the way before the Italian drivers responded. With a lap of 2:04.677s before the red flag caused by Alessio Deledda (Global Racing Service), Lorenzo Colombo got the edge over Leonardo Lorandi (JD Motorsport), Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP), Ugo de Wilde (JD Motorsport) and Caio Collet (R-ace GP).
The conditions improved in the afternoon and the Hankook slick tyres were shod for the first time this week.
Alexander Smolyar quickly lowered the morning reference time before swapping the top spot with Victor Martins (MP Motorsport), Leonardo Lorandi and Lorenzo Colombo. With 15 minutes remaining, Sebastián Fernández launched the final sprint, but Lorenzo Colombo got the upper hand with a lap of 1:49.426s. Kush Maini, Victor Martins and Callan O’Keeffe (FA Racing by Drivex) completed the top five in a session where the top 17 were covered by less than a second.
Tomorrow, the drivers will contest the first qualifying session of the season at 9:00. The first race for the Formula Renault FR-19 will start at 14:05.
Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport): “I like driving in my country and it has gone well since yesterday! We have done a good job with the team, but we have to keep our heads down and continue to work together with my team mates to find the limits and continue to progress. Today we saw just how tight the gaps are in the dry and the smallest thing can make the difference. Qualifying is going to be important, but it will be especially important to pull away in the race to avoid wasting time fighting in traffic... This is something the spectators always like, but the drivers not so much!”
Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport): “Our performance wasn’t too bad in the rain, but it could have been better. However, we were on good pace straight away on used tyres for our first session in the dry. This was confirmed when we switched to new tyres and we were leading before a minor issue in the waning minutes. Our discovery of the car was enormously facilitated by the fact that I know this circuit. It is always a huge help, but we have to see how the weekend will go... A race in the rain could be very difficult and fun!"
Kush Maini (M2 Competition): “It was a good day, but it was only testing and we never know who really benefits from a good tow. We had solid pace on the wet track as we were consistently in the top five, but also in the dry with consistent times over several laps. The target now is to repeat this form in qualifying while making the most of the data of my team mates to see where we can be faster and pick up those crucial tenths. We are still in the learning process, we continue to learn each lap, but I would be really happy if we get the same place tomorrow morning."