MGR Motorsport’s Pietro Fittipaldi took the top time from the Renault UK Media Day and general test. The American racer set the fastest time in the final session of the day in a succession of quick laps as teams bolted new tyres onto the cars and set the drivers loose. Pier Hickin of Scorpio Motorsport took second place, the meat in an MGR sandwich as Matteo Ferrer rounded out the top three.
Both the Brazilian/American and the Italian Ferrer headed all three sessions at times while the third MGR driver present spent much of the morning getting up to speed. Colin Noble Jr’s pace increased all day until a failed brake master cylinder ahead of the final session put an end to his consistent improvement.
Hickin was one of four drivers locked in a battle for the top spot in each session. Both Fittipaldi and Ferrer were involved in the battle as was Alex Gill of Fortec Motorsport. Piers himself headed the first session of the day with a margin of 0.668 seconds, by far the largest margin of any session topper.
Fourth in the final session went to Gill who successfully held off his much more famous team mate in each of the three sessions. Fifth went to the famous team mate, Wolfgang Reip who will race at Rockingham but will not run the full season. After four and a half hours in the Tatuus FR2000 Reip had moved to just 1.049 seconds of his more experienced team mate.
MGR’s Noble took sixth after the final session despite his brake issues which kept him in the garage until all but ten minutes of the session had past and put him in eighth by five o’clock.
Hillspeed were represented by Dimitris Papanastasiou who took seventh. Cliff Dempsey Racing took eighth and ninth with American TJ Fischer and French-Canadian Patrick Dassault. SWB Motorsport struggled for pace with Jack Butel but made progress throughout the day.
Pietro Fittipaldi refused to count his chickens after the day, “It’s always going to be competitive in a championship like this, you can never underestimate your opponents. You have to do your best, work the best you can with your team, and then you can be right there challenging. Today has been a good start.”
Alex Gill was more optimistic during the lunch break, ”Fortec are a great team and they have won a lot in Renaults so it should be good. I’ve got Ben [Barnicoat] as competition in the first race so that will be quite hard but I am confident we can take the championship this year.”,