Ellinas fastest, Stoneman unhurt after huge crash

Tio Ellinas was fastest on the opening day of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series pre-season testing in Jerez as Dean Stoneman escaped unhurt from a huge crash during the afternoon.

Strakka Racing’s Ellinas completed 59 laps on day one, with a best time of 1m27.430s, 0.004s faster than Oliver Rowland of Fortec Motorsports.

Morning session pacesetter Roberto Merhi was unable to improve his time in the afternoon and slipped to third on his first test with Pons Racing, while Jazeman Jaafar, only yesterday confirmed as the second Fortec driver, was fourth fastest.

Beitske Visser was the busiest driver on day one, with the Dutch female driver completing 73 laps of the Circuito de Jerez, ending up fifth quickest overall for AVF, just ahead of Pietro Fantin of International Draco Racing.

Meindert van Buuren was seventh quickest for the Charouz-run Lotus team, ahead of DAMS driver Stoneman, who ended his running in spectacular fashion after a crash at the fast left-hand turn 7 corner.

It is believe that the Red Bull-backed Briton was caught out by the gusting wind, with his car hitting one wall before striking a second barrier that caused the car to spin several times before coming to a rest, with the gearbox breaking away from the car. Stoneman was taken to the Jerez medical centre where after twenty minutes of being checked over, was given the all clear.

Nicholas Latifi was ninth quickest for Arden Motorsport, just ahead of Gustav Malja in the second Strakka Racing entry.

Twenty-two cars took to the track on the opening day of the test, with Philo Paz Patrick Armand testing for Pons Racing and Johnny Cecotto Jr in the second Zeta Corse machine alongside Facu Regalia.

Comtec Racing were absent from the test altogether, throwing further doubts about their future participation in the series.

Circuito de Jerez Pre-Season Test 1 Day 1 Times

1 11 Tio Ellinas CYP Strakka Racing 1m27.430s 59
2 4 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports 1m27.434s 60
3 40 Roberto Merhi ESP Pons Racing 1m27.579s 54
4 3 Jazeman Jaafar MAL Fortec Motorsports 1m27.732s 60
5 16 Beitske Visser NED AVF 1m27.925s 73
6 19 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing 1m27.966s 42
7 10 Meindert van Buuren NED Lotus 1m28.074s 51
8 2 Dean Stoneman GBR DAMS 1m28.105s 51
9 5 Nicholas Latifi CAN Arden Motorsport 1m28.250s 57
10 12 Gustav Malja SWE Strakka Racing 1m28.338s 46
11 1 Nyck de Vries NED DAMS 1m28.460s 41
12 6 Egor Orudzhev RUS Arden Motorsport 1m28.470s 58
13 26 Tom Dillmann FRA Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m28.504s 41
14 39 Philo Paz Patrick Armand INO Pons Racing 1m28.515s 59
15 15 Alfonso Celis Jr MEX AVF 1m28.638s 44
16 9 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus 1m28.778s 48
17 7 Facu Regalia ARG Zeta Corse 1m28.844s 55
18 25 Sean Galael INO Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m28.965s 53
19 8 Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Zeta Corse 1m29.112s 38
20 20 Bruno Bonifacio BRZ International Draco Racing 1m29.320s 71
21 18 Aurelien Panis FRA Tech 1 Racing 1m29.660s 63
22 17 Roy Nissany ISR Tech 1 Racing 1m30.229s 41