Wednesday leader Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP) was back atop the timing screen on the third and final day of the Formula Renault Eurocup collective tests at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours. The Australian clocked a best lap of 1:36.525s to lead from Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) and Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport). Fourth quickest, Ugo de Wilde (JD Motorsport) was the top rookie over the three days.
Despite clear skies at the start of the day, the track surface was still wet when the competitors got to work at 9am. Oscar Piastri wasted little time to set the pace, but Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport) put in a lap of 1:49.534s just before the rain arrived in the final hour. His time went unchallenged and he led the pack of Oscar Piastri, Caio Collet (R-ace GP), Kush Maini (M2 Competition) and Cameron Das (M2 Competition) at the conclusion of the session.
Thanks to improving afternoon conditions, the Hankook slick tyres were shod and in the opening minutes the morning benchmark was beaten by Cameron Das. The times continued to drop, especially those of Victor Martins, but Oscar Piastri sealed the top spot with 35 minutes remaining with the best lap of the day in 1:36.525s. The Australian was followed by the French driver of the Renault Sport Academy and Lorenzo Colombo, with Ugo de Wilde and Kush Maini rounding out the top five.
Next Friday, the competitors will be back in action for two new days of collective tests at Circuit Paul Ricard. More than 20 drivers are expected at the first tests at a track on the calendar that will host the Formula Renault FR-19s.
Oscar Piastri repeats
Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP): “Like yesterday, I think we were a bit lucky because we were one of the last to switch to the slick tyres! Nevertheless, we were very quick this morning in the rain. These first tests have been positive. We have learned a lot, but everyone is discovering the new car and I think that we can improve in all areas leading up to the first qualifying session of the season. There are four more pre-season test days, a practice day and two qualifying sessions at Monza… It is a good starting point, but I am not taking anything for granted as things can change quickly!"
Kush Maini consistently at the sharp end
Kush Maini (M2 Competition): “The M2 Competition team has made an excellent start in Europe. The arrival of this new car requires a tremendous amount of development work, but it has been a great experience although the weather didn’t help out! The pace of the three cars has been promising so far, because we have been competitive and consistently at the top of the order in all conditions. This should be a good season, but I haven’t fixed any specific target. As I am going to discover certain circuits, I just want to do my best and Formula Renault requires a different driving style to everything that I have driven before! In the rain, it doesn’t forgive a thing if you are not totally straight when you are back on the throttle, but I am enjoying it so far!”
The rookies gain experience
Federico Malvestiti (BhaiTech Racing): “The conditions were tricky over the three days, but it was the same for everyone. Along with the team, we discovered a new category on a circuit that was new to us. We took on these tests like it was a shakedown to try to understand as much as possible. Unfortunately, I caused two red flags, including one this afternoon… It happens sometimes when you want to push the limits! In any case, I am pleased with the progress made so far and I look forward to continuing our learning process at Circuit Paul Ricard.”
Patrick Schott (FA Racing by Drivex): “Like many others, I discovered the car for the first time on Tuesday and it is very different to the F4 and F3 cars that I have driven. Even though it’s only testing for the moment, I have to adapt quickly to be in the mix at the first race. It is not easy to do three days with a mix of rain and dry conditions, but I think that we have made good progress with the car and my driving. The objective will be to improve at each meeting to steadily close the gap to the front-runners. The presence of Fernando Alonso in the team is a chance and it also adds a little bit of positive pressure. He is a very important person in the organisation. He is always ready to help us and he also provides an enormous amount of motivation for the team and I.”