Frijns leads the way in testing - Photo credit: Renault Sport Media

Frijns leads the way in testing - Photo credit: Renault Sport Media

Formula Renault Eurocup champion Robin Frijns set the fastest time on the first day of Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season testing in Paul Ricard.

The Fortec rookie took the top spot away from Jules Bianchi and ex Fortec driver Alexander Rossi towards the end of the afternoon session.

Fellow newcomer Richie Stanaway also beat the more experienced duo and finished in second for Lotus with Frijns' team mate Carlos Huertas completing the top five.

The first day of testing saw the majority of the teams shaking down their brand new cars, particularly in the morning session.

Daniil Move, quickest for P1 Motorsport early on, said: “There's no doubt this new single-seater is faster than the old one, and it's a cut above in every respect.

“We've a long way to go before we get the very best out of it and yet we're already a lot quicker than we were. It's fantastic.”

The new FR3.5 car, with Zytek engine and Drag Reduction System, was almost three seconds faster than its predecessor, with Frijns’s best lap of 1m47.006s comparing to the lap record of 1m49.901s for the old car, set by 2011 champion Robert Wickens.

Nico Muller, 12th for Draco, said: “The thing that impresses me most about the new car is the aerodynamics.

“I never drove this track with the old car so I don't really have any references, but compared to every other car I've had the chance to drive it feels absolutely amazing on fast corners.”

Session times:

Pos Driver Team Time 
 1.  Robin Frijns          Fortec Motorsports       1m47.006s
 2.  Richie Stanaway       Lotus                    1m47.125s  + 0.119
 3.  Jules Bianchi         Tech 1 Racing            1m47.252s  + 0.246
 4.  Alexander Rossi       Arden Caterham           1m47.302s  + 0.296
 5.  Carlos Huertas        Fortec Motorsports       1m47.388s  + 0.382
 6.  Arthur Pic            Dams                     1m47.445s  + 0.439
 7.  Kevin Magnussen       Carlin                   1m47.531s  + 0.525
 8.  Andrè Negrao          International Draco      1m47.576s  + 0.570
 9.  Walter Grubmuller     P1 Motorsport            1m47.757s  + 0.751
10.  Marco Sorensen        Lotus                    1m47.757s  + 0.751
11.  Lewis Williamson      Arden Caterham           1m47.989s  + 0.983
12.  Nico Muller           International Draco      1m48.286s  + 1.280
13.  Daniil Move           P1 Motorsport            1m48.317s  + 1.311
14.  Kevin Korjus          Tech 1 Racing            1m48.501s  + 1.495
15.  Sam Bird              Isr                      1m48.519s  + 1.513
16.  Vittorio Ghirelli     Comtec Racing            1m48.933s  + 1.927
17.  Anton Nebylitskiy     Team Rfr                 1m49.127s  + 2.121
18.  Lucas Foresti         Dams                     1m49.204s  + 2.198
19.  Giovanni Venturini    Bvm Target               1m49.383s  + 2.377
20.  Mikhail Aleshin       Team Rfr                 1m49.613s  + 2.607
21.  Nick Yelloly          Comtec Racing            1m49.753s  + 2.747
22.  Nicolay Martsenko     Bvm Target               1m49.843s  + 2.837
23.  Jake Rosenzweig       Isr                      1m50.317s  + 3.311
24.  Yann Cunha            Pons Racing              1m50.404s  + 3.398
25.  Zoel Amberg           Pons Racing              1m50.435s  + 3.429
26.  Will Stevens          Carlin                   1m50.454s  + 3.448