The final day of the pre-season Formula Renault Eurocup collective tests went the way of Victor Martins (MP Motorsport). The Renault Sport Academy driver was quickest at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to lead from Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport) and Caio Collet (R-ace GP), who was the fastest rookie on the day he is celebrating his 17th birthday. With just a second covering the top 15, the opening round of the season next week at Monza promises to be wide-open.
After setting the pace on Tuesday, Victor Martins kept the momentum going by heading straight to the top of the order this morning. The Frenchman held on through the rest of the session with a benchmark time of 1:41.569s to lead team mate Lorenzo Colombo. Caio Collet, Kush Maini (M2 Competition) and Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP) completed the top five in a session where the top 15 were covered by less than a second.
In the afternoon, Patrick Schott (FA Racing by Drivex) went P1 with a lap of 1:43.008s. The Swiss driver of the Fernando Alonso supported team remained atop the timing screen, when a storm passed over the Catalan circuit early in hour two. Despite the rainfall, the drivers and teams continued their final preparations shod on the Hankook rain tyres in the final 90 minutes of running.
Next Thursday, the Formula Renault Eurocup will be at the Autodromo di Monza for a day of collective tests, followed by the opening weekend of racing of the 2019 season.
Martins still ahead
Victor Martins (MP Motorsport): “It is a shame that the rain ended our day, but everything went very well in the dry. All the sessions were productive and we made good progress in all the targeted areas, which was one of our objectives. We know there is still work to do and that the competition will be tough, but I cannot wait to be at Monza next week!”
Colombo in contention ahead of Monza
Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport): “My pre-season tests have gone really well, because I have always been up front. I like working with my new team. We just keep making progress and I think that’s the key to taming this generation of Formula Renault. It is quite a physical car, but a great one to learn. I believe that if you can be quick with this car, you can go to the next-level categories without any worries. We now have to carry on our development all throughout the year to reach our objectives. I am very confident, especially with a team mate as fast and consistent as Victor, and I will go to Monza knowing that I can aim for the podium.”
Deledda and Baltas getting closer
Alessio Deledda (Global Racing Service): “Being the rookie in a new team in a category introducing a new car, we have suffered some teething issues…But I know we can turn it upside-down! I don’t have a lot of experience in a race car, but I like this Formula Renault. I still have to find my marks with these tyres, especially when it comes to lateral grip and the performance peaks. This one is quite hard to reach and I think that we will see a few surprises in qualifying at Monza.”
Yves Baltas (M2 Competition): “This Formula Renault embodies a new generation of racing cars and it was a great experience to be among the first to drive it. It is nice car with a really nice feeling even though it is very different than what I am used to. As it is bigger, heavier and as the steering wheel is closer to me, it requires a different driving style. It is a challenge that everyone has to get used to, but that is part of the job and I can not wait to see where we are compared to the others after these very promising tests.”