Renault WS » 06 April 2006
WS: Final test hit by winter`s return.
All 15 World Series Formula Renault teams gathered at the Nurburgring for the final pre-season group test before the championship starts in earnest on the final weekend of April, only to find that the return of cold conditions would prevent a lot of useful running.
Spring was nowhere to be seen on the final day of testing, as the teams had to cancel two hours of running due to ice making for poor track conditions. However, weather aside, the outing had already proved to be an interesting one, with seven different teams featured in the top seven positions on the timesheets.
With only a few laps possible early on the final morning, testing reverted to a single uninterrupted session, with Cram Competition's Ben Hanley the quickest of the 29 drivers present. The gap between Hanley and Prema's Christian Montanari was only 0.039secs, however.
The two quickest drivers were alone in lapping below the 1min 43secs mark, but, once again, there was ample evidence of just how evenly matched the WS field is, with twelve drivers separated by less than a second. Sean McIntosh (KTR), Michael Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), James Rossiter (Pons Racing), Eric Salignon (Interwetten.com) and GP2 convert Borja García (RC Motorsport) in particular were all very consistent in their lap times.
On day one, Canadian McIntosh topped the timesheets, followed by Epsilon Euskadi's Davide Valsecchi. The Joan Villadelprat-managed team, winner of the 2005 campaign with Polish ace Robert Kubica, looks set for another challenging year, with Valsecchi being partnered by the improving Steven Kane.
Interwetten's Andy Soucek also proved to be one to watch, finishing the first day of testing in P3 and adding to the reputation already carved out in winter and earlier pre-season testing. The Spanish F3 champ was quicker than Hanley, Salignon, Alx Danielsson and Colin Fleming on the day.
It was also a good start for the new Comtec Racing outfit, for whom Danielsson posted the quickest time in the morning session. The Swede was followed at close quarters by McIntosh, however, the FRenault runner-up only 0.123secs behind. Kane finished third in the morning session.
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