Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr set the fastest time of the first Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain. The DAMS driver topped day two of the test, while Fortec Motorsports topped both the first and third days with Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin respectively.
”We concentrated on performance and I am obviously satisfied,” said Sainz Jr to the official World Series by Renault (WSR) website. “To finish first in two sessions is very important, but nothing is granted. There is still a long way to go, our work has only just begun. I feel like home in the team. They help me enormously and give me the confidence to be a better driver.”
Sainz’s 1:38.340s lap was almost two tenths of a second faster than British driver Rowland’s lap that put him fastest on day one, and almost half a second ahead of Russian driver Sirotkin. Rain hampered running on the final day, but Sirotkin’s 1:38.828s lap was enough to pip Arden Motorsport driver Pierre Gasly into second place.
”We achieved a lot this week to improve the car,” said Sauber F1 development driver Sirotkin. “We are very fast on used rubber. We now have to concentrate on stints with fresh tyres. The potential is huge, but we were not able to get the most out of the car due to traffic this afternoon.”
Other drivers to feature in the top ten times of the test were Brazilian Pietro Fantin for International Draco Racing, Gasly and William Buller of Arden Motorsport, Will Stevens of Strakka Racing, Nigel Melker of Tech 1 Racing, Norman Nato of DAMS, and Nikolay Martsenko of Comtec Racing.
Stevens in particular was happy with the work his team managed to put in during the three-day test. The British driver is part of the Caterham F1 team’s young driver programme and will be one of the championship favourites in 2014.
“With three days of testing, we can try a lot of things,” said Stevens. “I am not entering the unknown. If we do a good job and consistently score points, we will be in contention.”
Motorland Aragon Test Top 10 Times
1. Carlos Sainz – DAMS – 1:38.340s – Day 2
2. Oliver Rowland – Fortec Motorsports – 1:38.522s – Day 1
3. Sergey Sirotkin – Fortec Motorsports – 1:38.798s – Day 2
4. Pierre Gasly – Arden Motorsport – 1:38.828s – Day 2
5. Pietro Fantin – International Draco Racing – 1:38.864s – Day 2
6. William Buller – Arden Motorsport – 1:38.994s – Day 2
7. Will Stevens – Strakka Racing – 1:39.030s – Day 2
8. Nigel Melker – Tech 1 Racing – 1:39.144s – Day 2
9. Norman Nato – DAMS – 1:39.161s – Day 2
10. Nikolay Martsenko – Comtec Racing – 1:39.190s – Day 3
Testing resumes at the Circuito de Jerez on March 24-26.