Preparations for the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 UK season are in full swing as the series entrants have begun official pre-season testing over the last few weeks. The series has had 5 official test days so far, with three different drivers topping the timesheets, however the tests have been blighted by low turnouts.
Donington Park – 1st March
Official Formula Renault UK pre-season testing began at Donington Park and it was series newcomer Jake Dennis who fired the opening salvo, the Racing Steps Foundation driver setting a time of 1:03.851s in the afternoon for Fortec Motorsport.
Fellow series newcomer Josh Webster was second quicker, 0.190s behind in his Mark Burdett Motorsport car. His team-mate for the day Jeroen Slaghekke was just 0.123s behind as the Dutchman evaluates a move into Formula Renault.
Concluding the six runners were Shahaan Engineer, Josh Hill and Dan de Zille, the Fortec Motorsport trio all ending up with 0.620s of Dennis' best.
Dennis said: “Today was really good for us. We've been fast on old and new tyres and really consistent which is good for the three races at each round this year and having that consistency is certainly going to help me”. “I was only two tenths off the pole time from last year on old tyres when everyone else was on new so everything is going to plan and looking good so far.”
Test times – am / pm – fastest in bold
1. Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsport 1:04.402s / 1:03.851s
2. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:04.613s / 1:04.041s
3. Jeroen Slaghekke Mark Burdett Motorsport 1.05.666s / 1:04.164s
4. Shahaan Engineer Fortec Motorsport 1:05.319s / 1:04.343s
5. Josh Hill Fortec Motorsport 1:04.917s / 1:04.354s
6. Dan De Zille Fortec Motorsport 1:04.623s / 1:04.471s
Snetterton – 7th/8th March
Testing next moved onto a wet Snetterton, but the result was the same with Dennis once again topping the timesheets, with a best time of 1:55.184s putting him just 0.007s faster than 2011 Formula Renault BARC vice-champion Webster.
After many drivers skipped the opening session in virtually washout conditions, the drivers went on to set their best times in the afternoon when the conditions had improved. Doing this was Engineer, who once again impressed by beating Formula Renault racewinner Hill and Formula Ford graduate De Zille.
Test times – session 1 / session 2 / session 3 – fastest in bold
1. Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsport 2:13.479 / 1:57.919 / 1:55.184
2. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport no time / 1:59.243 / 1:55.191
3. Shahaan Engineer Fortec Motorsport no time / 1:59.876 / 1:55.320
4. Josh Hill Fortec Motorsport no time /1:59.112 / 1:56.708
5. Dan de Zille Fortec Motorsport 2:40.843 / 1:59.633 / 1:57.003
Day two at Snetterton finally saw someone overthrow Dennis, with Webster topping the timesheets in improving conditions. Webster's best time of 1:45.329s put him 0.148s ahead of reigning Intersteps champion Dennis, who had been quickest in the morning.
Hill finished up third with strong times putting him less than half a second behind Webster, while team-mates De Zille and Engineer completed the runners, the latter having to sit out the last part of the day after an engine failure, which stopped him from having a late new tyre run and showing the real pace he had in the car.
Test times – am / pm – fastest in bold
1. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:46.268s / 1:45.329s
2. Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsport 1:46.215s / 1:45.477s
3. Josh Hill Fortec Motorsport 1:46.578s / 1:45.757s
4. Dan De Zille Fortec Motorsport 1:47.853s / 1:46.369s
5. Shahaan Engineer Fortec Motorsport 1:47.470s / 1:46.987s
Oulton Park – 13th/14th March
The latest testing saw the drivers head to Cheshire and Oulton Park for two days of running. Dennis once again returned to the top on day one, with a best time of 1:17.623s, but he was beaten on day two by Fortec team-mate Hill, who ended the day just 0.040s off Dennis' best from the day before.
Hill was quick throughout the test and ended up second on day two, followed by Engineer and De Zille to make it a Fortec lockout of the top six. Webster took fifth for Mark Burdett Motorsport ahead of team-mate Gabriel Casagrande, the Brazilian making his first appearance in winter testing.
Day two saw Dennis finish up second behind Hill, with Fortec once again getting the advantage over Mark Burdett Motorsport, Engineer and De Zille completing the top four again ahead of Webster and Casagrande.
Tuesday – Combined Classification – fastest in bold
1. Jake Dennis 1:19.549 / 1:18.434 / 1:18.603 / 1:17.623s
2. Josh Hill 1:19.315 / 1:18.633 / 1:18.783 / 1:17.799s
3. Shahaan Engineer no time / 1:20.479 / 1:18.915 / 1:17.811s
4. Dan De Zille 1:20.264 / 1:19.420 / 1:19.227 / 1:17.876s
5. Josh Webster 1:19.278 / 1:18.825 / 1:18.512 / 1:18.187s
6. Gabriel Casagrande 1:23.473 / 1:20.859 / 1:20.705s / no time
Wednesday – Combined Classification – fastest in bold
1. Josh Hill 1:18.285 / 1:18.840 / 1:18.318 / 1:17.663s
2. Jake Dennis 1:18.023 / 1:17.918 / 1:18.300s / no time
3. Shahaan Engineer 1:18.564 / 1:18.395 / 1:18.417 / 1:17.947s
4. Dan De Zille 1:19.208 / 1:18.687 / 1:18.562 / 1:18.060s
5. Josh Webster 1:18.657 / 1:18.643 / no time / 1:18.148s
6. Gabriel Casagrande 1:27.912 / 1:20.163 / 1:20.739 / 1:19.642