Frenchmen fast in Spain as Vaxiviere and Gasly top Jerez collective tests


French drivers topped both collective test sessions at Jerez as the final Formula Renault 3.5 Series event began in Spain.

Matthieu Vaxiviere was fastest in the opening session, with the Lotus driver setting the best time of the day with a 1:28.823s, the only driver underneath 1:29s.

William Buller was second for Arden Motorsport ahead of Strakka Racing’s Matias Lainé, while Pierre Gasly of Arden Motorsport was fourth. Sergey Sirotkin of Fortec Motorsports and Pietro Fantin of International Draco Racing were fifth and sixth after setting an identical lap time of 1:29.282s.

Meindert van Buuren was seventh for Pons Racing ahead of the second Lotus of Marlon Stockinger, while championship favourite Carlos Sainz Jr was ninth for DAMS ahead of Oliver Rowland of Fortec Motorsports in tenth.

The second session saw Gasly hit top spot with a lap time of 1:29.652s, which was 0.021s ahead of fellow Red Bull Junior driver Sainz Jr. Jazeman Jaafar was third quickest for ISR Racing, ahead of Will Stevens of Strakka Racing.

Buller was fifth ahead of Oscar Tunjo of Pons Racing and Rowland, while Norman Nato was eighth for DAMS. Marco Sorensen, fresh off his maiden GP2 Series victory last weekend, was ninth for Tech 1 Racing with Fantin completing the top ten.

Roberto Merhi, who remains with a remote chance of taking the title, had a nightmare Friday, with the Zeta Corse driver, who needs two wins to have any chance of the title, twenty-first and last in the first session and only nineteenth in the second.

Jerez Collective Test Session 1 Times

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus 1:28.823
2 William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1:29.018
3 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing 1:29.109
4 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport 1:29.142
5 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports 1:29.282
6 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 1:29.282
7 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1:29.295
8 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus 1:29.306
9 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 1:29.466
10 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:29.635
11 Nicholas Latifi CAN Tech 1 Racing 1:29.717
12 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 1:29.771
13 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR 1:29.810
14 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 1:29.968
15 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula 1:29.969
16 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1:30.028
17 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 1:30.074
18 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula 1:30.215
19 Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 1:30.499
20 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse 1:30.847
21 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 1:31.377

Jerez Collective Test Session 2 Times

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport 1:29.652
2 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS 1:29.673
3 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR 1:29.978
4 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing 1:30.046
5 William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 1:30.109
6 Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 1:30.120
7 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:30.162
8 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 1:30.184
9 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing 1:30.324
10 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 1:30.415
11 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula 1:30.530
12 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula 1:30.627
13 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus 1:30.629
14 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing 1:30.643
15 Nicholas Latifi CAN Tech 1 Racing 1:30.667
16 Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports 1:30.672
17 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus 1:30.847
18 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing 1:30.864
19 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse 1:30.996
20 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing 1:31.194
21 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse 1:31.211