Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) brought an end to the series of best times by Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) with the fastest lap in the last pre-season collective tests day at the Autodromo di Monza. The Frenchman set a track record for the Formula Renault Eurocup in 1:47.115s to lead from Formula Renault Asia champion Joey Alders (MP Motorsport) and the Argentinean driver.
In cooler conditions than yesterday, the chase for fast times began at a brisk pace. After a short red flag caused by Amaury Cordeel (FA Racing), William Alatalo (JD Motorsport) moved to the sharp end of the order before being bumped off the top spot by Franco Colapinto 35 minutes only into the session.
The Argentinean then lowered the previous track record held by Will Palmer (1:47.978 in 2017) with a lap of 1:47.322s. Despite his best effort in the waning moments, Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing) had to settle for second best time ahead of Victor Martins, Tijmen van der Helm (FA Racing), Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) and rookie William Alatalo.
It was a different story in the afternoon with the start of the session focused on race simulations and long stints. The times dropped however in the final 15 minutes led by Victor Martins, who lowered the benchmark time of Franco Colapinto on two occasions to finish P1 ahead of Joey Alders and Grégoire Saucy. Lorenzo Colombo and Caio Collet (R-ace GP) completed the top five, while the best-placed rookie Michael Belov (M2 Competition) finished the day in eighth place.
Tomorrow, the competitors will enjoy a day off before two collective tests ahead of the first qualifying session of the season on Thursday.
Martins and Alders shift into high gear
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix): "It feels good to be back on the track and with my team to enjoy myself behind the wheel. We had a lot of things to try while also getting back into the rhythm. We are peaking as the first race approaches and we are more and more focused on our goals. For my part, I am aiming more than ever for the title and as I have never won here, I intend to rectify right from Friday!"
Joey Alders (MP Motorsport): "These two days of testing have been quite positive. I didn’t really have time to prepare as I only got the call on Saturday, but these tests give me confidence for what is to follow. I also have an extra boost of motivation as people tend to underestimate the level of competition in Asia. I want to prove myself and we have made progress on every stint. Now we’re going to look at the data to see where we can still make up some time!"
The new French wave on its way
Hadrien David (MP Motorsport): "We have worked a lot with MP Motorsport and I think we have a promising car as the pace of my team-mates show. I had not driven for a while, so it took some time to get back up to speed. As a rookie there’s really a lot to learn, so I am trying to get a lot of experience this week at Monza. On Friday, my first race in over eight months is going to be special, and even more so at this iconic Monza circuit where anything can happen. The races are often very spectacular here, but I’m really looking forward to the start. My progress over the weekend will surely be more important than my results, but I’m lucky to be able to compare myself with two quality team-mates and I couldn’t have asked for more!"
Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport): "After a tough day yesterday, the team has found solutions to improve in all areas and our performance shows that the potential is there. I haven’t really set a specific objective for my first race in the Formula Renault Eurocup, especially as it’s my first time racing at Monza. However, I want to run at the front of the rookie class and at the same time aim for a top ten finish overall. Hadrien and I were in the same championship last year. We fought all season together. He is a rival with whom I can compare myself and we will try to do well to beat him!"
The Italians are ready to shine on home soil
Lorenzo Colombo (Bhaitech Racing): "It’s really nice to get back behind the wheel in my home country and on a track that I really enjoy. We tried a maximum of settings to find the best solutions on this track and the others on the calendar. Our results have been very mixed as we explored several possibilities, but everything went well. As an Italian driver in an Italian team on an Italian circuit I will give it my all to come big in my home race. I’ve been on pole here for the last two years, but I’ve lacked success in the race. I will have to make a good start and be ready to face all situations to win... It will be all the more important as the race promises to be extremely close as the gaps were so small during the tests!"
Nicola Marinangeli (Bhaitech Racing): "I feel ready for my first weekend of racing in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Our improvements have allowed us to make constant progress throughout the sessions. Lorenzo’s experience is also highly valuable to me as he can guide me on and off track to harness the car’s full potential. I hope to be able to put all this to good use starting Thursday to get a good result at my home circuit."