Matteo Nannini (R-ace GP) led the way in final day of the post-season collective tests in Abu Dhabi. After setting the fastest time on Sunday, the Italian repeated on Monday with a best time of 2:07.901s to lead team mates Kush Maini and Leonardo Lorandi, who topped the last, night session. Roman Stanek (MP Motorsport) was the top rookie on the day ahead of Michael Belov (Bhaitech Racing) and Hadrien David (MP Motorsport).
22 drivers were present on Monday at the Yas Marina Circuit. Two among them were invited by Renault Sport Racing and its partners: Jack Young (Arden Motorsport), winner of three races in the Clio Cup Open held in support of the French and German Formula 1 Grands Prix, and Belén Garcia (Global Racing Service), the leading female driver in the Spanish F4 Championship.
The first three-hour session began at dusk with the drivers progressively lowering their times in increasingly cooler conditions. Kush Maini led for two hours, but was overtaken on the timing screen in the final ten minutes by Matteo Nannini with a lap clocked at 2:07.901s. Amaury Cordeel (MP Motorsport), Leonardo Lorandi and rookie Michael Belov completed the top five.
In the second session, Michael Belov led early before Matteo Nannini and Leonardo Lorandi went quicker. The Italian drivers set the exact same time on top for nearly an hour before the Russian answered back after two stoppages caused by Xavier Lloveras (Global Racing Service) and Jack Young.
Roman Stanek then went to the top of the order with 30 minutes remaining, but Matteo Nannini, responded as did Leonardo Lorandi, who finished the session best with a lap of 2:07.975s while the time of Matteo Nannini was deleted when his car was found to be under weight. Rookies Roman Stanek and Michael Belov were then promoted into the top three.
As soon as the Formula Renault FR-19s return to Europe, the teams will resume their winter testing programmes just until December before the first collective tests of the 2020 season at the Circuit de Valencia on March 11 and 12.
Matteo Nannini (R-ace GP): “Honestly, I didn’t expect to be so fast this week. I knew right from my first laps with R-ace GP and MP Motorsport that I could run up front. I was expecting a bit more in the last session with new tyres, so I’m going to look the data to figure out where I lost time to my teammates. However, I am satisfied with the work done both at home and both teams!”
Kush Maini (R-ace GP): “My first two days with R-ace GP have been really productive. I had to adapt to the car, which is quite different to the one I drove this season with M2 Competition. We tested a lot of things and I am very pleased with the progress we made through the four sessions. I am already looking forward to the next test!”
Leonardo Lorandi (R-ace GP): “It is really good to be back at the top of the order even though it doesn’t make up for a disappointing season. I have dreamed of such a result and I am glad that it has happened. It’s good for my confidence, but also for my family, my manager and my partners. I would like to thank R-ace GP for providing me with a car to show my potential and I hope to have the opportunity to return to the Formula Renault Eurocup with a front-running team next year.”
Roman Stanek (MP Motorsport): “I discovered the car for the first time yesterday and immediately the feeling was good. It has more power and downforce than an F4, so it may be a bit less sensitive, but it’s much more fun to drive! I feel ready physically even though I still need to work in this area, but I hope more than anything else to be back in this car that I like to drive as soon as possible!”
Michael Belov (Bhaitech Racing): “It was another positive day. Like yesterday, I was comfortable in the car and we were successful in finding a good balance for the two sessions. I lost two tenths in traffic, so I am a little disappointed about that, but the most important is that I am already confident with the car and my driving. This is promising for the future when I will have more experience with this car!”
Belén Garcia (Global Racing Service): “Everything was new and amazing! There is no comparison with F4: downforce, handling in the fast corners, steering, brakes, tyres to manage… Everything seems to be from another world! The Formula Renault is also quite different to the W Series, especially with the set-ups. I would have never thought that I would have the chance to drive in Abu Dhabi, even less so at night, with this car, so I would like to thank Renault Sport Racing and Hankook for giving me this unique opportunity and experience.”
Jack Young (Arden Motorsport): “This first day in single-seater was full of challenges, but it was fun! I think that the biggest shock in coming from the Clio Cup was the aerodynamic downforce effect. It just feels like another dimension in the high-speed corners. I under-estimated just how strong you have to be to control the car and I felt it all day long, but I believe that this is a good starting point if I get another opportunity to get back behind the wheel!”