Leader of the Formula Renault Eurocup general classification, Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) led the three collective tests sessions at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Frenchman posted the best time Friday morning in 1:42.235s ahead of Caio Collet (R-ace GP) and Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) in a field that promises to be incredibly tight and competitive this weekend.
On Thursday, the competitors had four hours of track time to find their marks again in the Formula Renault FR-19 as six among them took part in the FIA Formula 3 Championship tests on this very same track at the beginning of the week.
At the conclusion of a session where the top nine were covered by less than a half-second, Victor Martins was quickest with a time of 1:42.862s ahead of Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport), Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport), Caio Collet and Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing).
On Friday, the leader of the general classification kept the momentum going. Moving to the top of the timing screen just before mid-session, the Frenchman reclaimed the top spot in the waning minutes with a lap of 1:42.235s to lead a 12-driver chase group - representing seven different teams - separated by a little less than a half-second.
The track wasn’t as fast in the afternoon heat. After the early domination of Caio Collet, then William Alatalo (JD Motorsport), Alex Quinn initiated the final sprint after the red flag caused by László Tóth (Bhaitech Racing) but Victor Martins eventually returned to the sharp end of the order ahead of David Vidales (JD Motorsport) and Ugo de Wilde with a lap of 1:43.358s.
Tomorrow, the drivers will battle in the first qualifying session beginning at 8h45. Race one of the weekend will start at 13h40.
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "It’s always good to start this way. I really like this track that we know very well, but we have to keep working to improve our car from one session to the next and make it better to keep the momentum going. As was the case at Zandvoort, the weather could play a role, so we will have to get everything sorted to extract the full potential of the car."
David Vidales (JD Motorsport): "It’s great to be back in Spain and to race on home soil. It’s also good to return to a circuit where I have already driven. I don’t lose a few laps to discover and learn the track, but everyone else already knows it perfectly. As always, the target will be to work as well as possible with the team to be able to compete for the win and I absolutely want to have a good weekend in front of my parents!"
Ugo de Wilde (Arden Motorsport): "These are the best test sessions we have done so far this year. We debriefed a lot after Zandvoort to understand what had happened and it’s is a track where the team had a good base to build on after their performance last year. It’s nice to be back, but we mustn’t forget the serious business really starts tomorrow!"
Tijmen van der Helm (FA Racing): "I was a bit unlucky in the first half of the season with my wrist injury and races out of the points after Monza. I hope it will get better now, even if I am not setting myself a specific goal apart from finishing in the top ten as often as possible. Today, our morning was really positive with the fourth fastest time. Second place was within our reach if I hadn’t messed up in the third and last sector. The assessment after the sessions is rather good, but let’s see how the rest of the weekend goes!"
Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport): "We were on pace straight away yesterday, but today we had a few more problems. These have been solved by the team and I think we have an extremely fast car this week. We were quick despite this, so it’s a really positive start to the weekend. I hope we can also run strong if it rains, but I am feeling confident!"