Arthur Pic led the practice session for the DAMS squad (Photo Credit: Gregory Lenormand/DPPI)

Arthur Pic led the practice sessions for the DAMS squad (Photo Credit: Gregory Lenormand/DPPI)

DAMS got off to a flyer in their first ever Formula Renault 3.5 practice sessions, with Arthur Pic, brother of Marussia F1 driver Charles, fastest in both of Friday’s collective tests.

Pic, who sent the benchmark with a 1m40.744s lap in the morning session, bettered that effort by 0.6 seconds in the afternoon to steal a march on Nico Muller, Robin Frijns and Richie Stanaway.

Pic said: “It's important to get in the lead group straightaway.

“It shows we've done some good work this winter, that we've got a solid understanding of this car and that we've laid some good foundations.

“We were fastest at the last two collective sessions here, and we now know that not everyone's working on the same things at these tests, which means we'll have to wait until tomorrow before we start getting excited.” 

A short hailstorm at around the halfway mark of the second sessions provided teams which much difficulty, with the drivers only able to produce fast times in the final four minutes after Lucas Foresti brought out the red flag.

Stanaway had been heading the field at that point after finishing second to Pic earlier in the day before eventually ending the session three tenths down in fourth.

“I had a puncture this morning, which meant I had to start the second session on new tyres, and had none left by the time it ended,” said Stanaway,

“All the same I'm very happy with my time. Tomorrow's a different ball game and I'll have to get the most out of the car in qualifying.

“I know we've got a good race set-up but the qualifying sessions are essential and with the level there is here, it's going to be very tough.”

Stanaway was also pipped by Frijns and Muller in the latter stages of the session, with the Swiss driver performing well in the much improved Draco.

He said: “I had a big testing programme set up for this afternoon but I started off with a 15-minute penalty for failing to observe a yellow flag.

“After the storm, I pretty much had a clear lap and manage to put in a good time. I'm not exactly one of the favourites for the title because I've got a lot to learn, but being among the less-fancied drivers could work in my favour.”

 

Practice one:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1.  Arthur Pic          DAMS        1m40.744s
 2.  Richie Stanaway     Lotus       1m40.875s  + 0.131s
 3.  Walter Grubmuller   P1          1m40.912s  + 0.168s
 4.  Robin Frijns        Fortec      1m41.031s  + 0.287s
 5.  Sam Bird            ISR         1m41.072s  + 0.328s
 6.  Carlos Huertas      Fortec      1m41.157s  + 0.413s
 7.  Nico Muller         Draco       1m41.177s  + 0.433s
 8.  Jules Bianchi       Tech 1      1m41.256s  + 0.512s
 9.  Marco Sorensen      Lotus       1m41.263s  + 0.519s
10.  Daniil Move         P1          1m41.268s  + 0.524s
11.  Will Stevens        Carlin      1m41.322s  + 0.578s
12.  Lewis Williamson    Arden       1m41.484s  + 0.740s
13.  Kevin Korjus        Tech 1      1m41.601s  + 0.857s
14.  Kevin Magnussen     Carlin      1m41.608s  + 0.864s
15.  Lucas Foresti       DAMS        1m41.616s  + 0.872s
16.  Nick Yelloly        Comtec      1m41.638s  + 0.894s
17.  Andre Negrao        Draco       1m41.645s  + 0.901s
18.  Alexander Rossi     Arden       1m41.806s  + 1.062s
19.  Vittorio Ghirelli   Comtec      1m41.894s  + 1.150s
20.  Mikhail Aleshin     RFR         1m41.979s  + 1.235s
21.  Jake Rosenzweig     ISR         1m42.124s  + 1.380s
22.  Anton Nebylitskiy   RFR         1m42.238s  + 1.494s
23.  Zoel Amberg         Pons        1m42.239s  + 1.495s
24.  Nikolay Martsenko   BVM Target  1m42.324s  + 1.580s
25.  Giovanni Venturini  BVM Target  1m42.657s  + 1.913s
26.  Yann Cunha          Pons        1m42.671s  + 1.927s

Practice two:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
 1.  Arthur Pic          DAMS        1m40.136s
 2.  Nico Muller         Draco       1m40.498s  + 0.362s
 3.  Robin Frijns        Fortec      1m40.509s  + 0.373s
 4.  Richie Stanaway     Lotus       1m40.522s  + 0.386s
 5.  Carlos Huertas      Fortec      1m40.582s  + 0.446s
 6.  Sam Bird            ISR         1m40.636s  + 0.500s
 7.  Walter Grubmuller   P1          1m40.745s  + 0.609s
 8.  Kevin Korjus        Tech 1      1m40.748s  + 0.612s
 9.  Nick Yelloly        Comtec      1m40.877s  + 0.741s
10.  Daniil Move         P1          1m41.062s  + 0.926s
11.  Zoel Amberg         Pons        1m41.086s  + 0.950s
12.  Anton Nebylitskiy   RFR         1m41.128s  + 0.992s
13.  Alexander Rossi     Arden       1m41.156s  + 1.020s
14.  Jules Bianchi       Tech 1      1m41.183s  + 1.047s
15.  Will Stevens        Carlin      1m41.247s  + 1.111s
16.  Kevin Magnussen     Carlin      1m41.258s  + 1.122s
17.  Lewis Williamson    Arden       1m41.424s  + 1.288s
18.  Giovanni Venturini  BVM Target  1m41.612s  + 1.476s
19.  Mikhail Aleshin     RFR         1m41.629s  + 1.493s
20.  Nikolay Martsenko   BVM Target  1m41.796s  + 1.660s
21.  Lucas Foresti       DAMS        1m42.099s  + 1.963s
22.  Jake Rosenzweig     ISR         1m42.192s  + 2.056s
23.  Andre Negrao        Draco       1m42.357s  + 2.221s
24.  Vittorio Ghirelli   Comtec      1m42.618s  + 2.482s
25.  Marco Sorensen      Lotus       1m42.852s  + 2.716s
26.  Yann Cunha          Pons        1m44.130s  + 3.994s