Renault WS » 25 March 2006
WS: McIntosh, Kerr settle in at speed.
The new KTR pairing of Sean McIntosh and Robbie Kerr made an immediate impression on the World Series by Renault paddock after posting top ten times on their first acquaintance with the series' Dallara-Renaults.
Despite having spent the winter at the wheel of A1 Grand Prix Lolas, the pair adapted quickly to their new environment, having been placed at Belgian team KTR by mentors Wade Cherwayko and John Surtees, and ran with the best at the WS' opening pre-season test in Barcelona.
McIntosh posted the sixth fastest time of the two-day test, the 20-year old Canadian learning the characteristics of the new-spec 425bhp Dallara-Renault as well as the 4.73km Circuit de Catalunya. He spent Wednesday getting to grips with both, before seeing his attempts to 'bang in a flier' on fresh rubber towards the end of the day thwarted by a series of red flags.
However, the 2005 Formula Renault UK runner-up was pleased with the progress he had made on day one, and used Thursdayâ€™s sessions to both up his pace and settle further into his new surroundings. He reeled off a total of 60 laps over the two sessions, setting a fastest time of 1min 27.714secs in the morning, and then bettering that mark with a 1min 27.624secs after lunch to finish the test sixth overall of the 30 drivers present.
"We made real progress throughout Thursday, and the afternoon session in particular was pretty tidy," McIntosh reported, "I'm starting to develop a relationship with my engineer, Paul Heath and, while these things always take a bit of time, I think we're starting to click already, which is encouraging. I'm getting a feel for the car now and can start to make changes to it, so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do next time out at Le Mans."
The Canadian ended the two-day session one place ahead of A1GP rival and new team-mate Kerr, who had finished sixth on Wednesday before slipping back behind the second KTR car on day two.
Like McIntosh, Kerr declared himself satisfied with the progress made following his first test outing in a World Series car, having also had to learn the Barcelona circuit. Where McIntosh was unable to find track time to set a flying lap on day one, the former British F3 champion used fresh tyres to set a lap of 1min 28.536secs, before a faster lap had to be aborted thanks to a slower car ahead.
Day two provided more of the same, with Kerr improving his understanding of the car and ultimately finishing the second session seventh fastest with a 1min 27.740secs lap, leaving him one spot behind his new team-mate.
"I'm pleased with what we achieved, the team's really professional and we've been working well together," the Briton said, "Wednesday was really about finding a rhythm and getting used to driving something different from the A1GP car, but I had some decent lap times on Thursday and finished just a tenth of a second behind Sean on the timesheets.
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