Vaxiviere tops first Motorland Aragon Collective Test

A late quick lap from Frenchman Matthieu Vaxiviere meant the Lotus driver ended the first Collective Test session of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Motorland Aragon at the top of the standings, while less than a second covered the first fourteen cars, indicating another close season of racing is imminent.

Vaxiviere, in his second season with Lotus in the series, set a time of 1m42.013s to beat then pacesetter Gustav Malja of Strakka Racing by just 0.007s, while third placed Beitske Visser was also able to get within a tenth of a second of the pace, with the AVF driver just 0.080s back.

Malja’s second place meant the Swede was the best-placed rookie in the field, with four of the top six places being taken by returning drivers. The next best rookie was 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion Nyck de Vries in fifth position for DAMS, just behind International Draco Racing’s Pietro Fantin.

Jazeman Jaafar was sixth fastest in the session for Fortec Motorsports, ahead of the second Strakka of Cypriot Tio Ellinas, while the second AVF of Mexican Alfonso Celis Jr, who made a one-off appearance in FR3.5 in 2015 at the Nurburgring for Tech 1 Racing, was eighth.

Four of the pre-season favourites, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), Dean Stoneman (DAMS), Roberto Merhi (Pons Racing) and Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) were all place ninth through to twelfth.

Celis Jr and Merhi were both responsible for causing red flag periods during the session, with the Mexican stopping at turn 1 after fifteen minutes, while the Spaniard stopped at turn seventeen with fifteen minutes remaining.

Neither Zeta Corse (as expected) nor Comtec Racing were on track during the session.

The second collective test takes place later this afternoon.

Motorland Aragon Collective Test 1 Times

19Matthieu VaxiviereFRALotus1m42.013s
212Gustav MaljaSWEStrakka Racing1m42.020s
316Beitske VisserNEDAVF1m42.083s
419Pietro FantinBRZInternational Draco Racing1m42.139s
51Nyck de VriesNEDDAMS1m42.235s
63Jazeman JaafarMALFortec Motorsports1m42.253s
711Tio EllinasCYPStrakka Racing1m42.361s
815Alfonso Celis JrMEXAVF1m42.376s
94Oliver RowlandGBRFortec Motorsports1m42.432s
102Dean StonemanGBRDAMS1m42.563s
1140Roberto MerhiESPPons Racing1m42.686s
1226Tom DillmannFRAJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m42.699s
1339Philo Paz Patric ArmandINOPons Racing1m42.925s
1410Meindert van BuurenNEDLotus1m43.008s
1525Sean GelaelINOJagonya Ayam with Carlin1m43.113s
1620Bruno BonifacioBRZInternational Draco Racing1m43.185s
176Egor OrudzhevRUSArden Motorsport1m43.416s
185Nicholas LatifiCANArden Motorsport1m43.470s
1917Roy NissanyISRTech 1 Racing1m44.216s
2018Aurelien PanisFRATech 1 Racing1m44.835s