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
|1||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||DAMS||1:33.731|
|2||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||International Draco Racing||1:33.899|
|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|
|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|
|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|