Sainz Jr Tops Monza Practice as Formula Renault 3.5 Begins


Red Bull backed Carlos Sainz Jr topped the collective test at the legendary Monza circuit as the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 series season got underway. The DAMS driver, who has taken over the seat vacated by 2013 series champion Kevin Magnussen, set the best time of the day in the afternoon session in a frantic last ten minutes as teams used the pause in the session when Strakka Racing’s Matias Lainé stopped on track to run qualifying simulations.

International Draco Racing enjoyed a reasonable day, with rookie Luca Ghiotto posting the second best time while team-mate Pietro Fantin was fourth. They sandwiched Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar’s solitary ISR entry. ISR, along with Tech 1 Racing and Comtec Racing are all only fielding one car at Monza due to a shortage of paying drivers, meaning that, combined with the absence of Carlin, only 21 cars will be racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Nikolay Martsenko did put his Comtec Racing car into fifth place in testing, just ahead of the second Red Bull backed driver in Pierre Gasly. The Arden Motorsport driver finishing two places ahead of his team-mate Will Buller, who was just edged out of seventh by Tech 1’s Marco Sorensen, the only driver in the field who has previously won a race in the series.

Frenchman Norman Nato in the second DAMS machine and Sergey Sirotkin in the leading Fortec Motorsports car rounded out the top ten. Sirotkin’s British team-mate Oliver Rowland saw himself shuffled down the field to eighteenth fastest at the end of the day.

Monza Collective Test Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 1:33.731
2 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 1:33.899
3 Jazeman Jaafar MAY ISR 1:33.986
4 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 1:34.041
5 Nikolay Martsenko RUS Comtec Racing 1:34.051
6 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport 1:34.082
7 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1:34.143
8 Will Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1:34.200
9 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 1:34.374
10 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsport 1:34.375
11 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 1:34.383
12 Oliver Webb GBR Pons Racing 1:34.422
13 Zoel Amberg SWI AVF 1:34.423
14 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus 1:34.567
15 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus 1:34.650
16 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 1:34.685
17 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing 1:34.765
18 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:34.792
19 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1:34.898
20 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse 1:35.404
21 Beitske Visser NED AVF 1:35.475