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Pic fastest again on first day

15 March 2009

Charles Pic has reprised his form from the opening day of testing at Jerez, by topping the times on the tortuous Circuit Ricardo Tormo track outside Valencia.

The Tech 1 Racing driver grabbed first place at the end of the day, just as he did in Jerez, leaving Britons Oliver Turvey and James Walker to settle for second and third places with Carlin Motorsport and P1 Motorsport respectively.

Two days after the first group test of the season, the World Series ranks reassembled further north to continue their preparations for the forthcoming season, their number swollen by the addition of Tobias Hegewald, running with Interwetten Racing, and Alexandre Marsoin, with Comtec Racing.

Walker, clearly comfortable in the bosom of reigning champions P1, was first to make a show, the series veteran lead the early times ahead of Marcos Martinez (Pons Racing), rookie Turvey, fellow Brit Greg Mansell (USR) and Bertrand Baguette (Draco), with only Fairuz Fauzy - running with Walker's former team, Fortec - seemingly able to disrupt the order, as he vaulted into third place.

''In Jerez, things weren't going perfectly, but now we have finally worked out what direction we need to work in,'' Martinez admitted after staking a claim to the early pace, ''Things aren't bad, because we were on the pace straight away here. With this aerodynamic configuration, we are quicker on the straights - I shift into sixth gear before hitting the last bend, and that wasn't the case before.''

With teams limited to just three sets of new tyres for the two days of testing, most opted to devote the morning session to working with the new-for-2009 gearbox, while pit-stop simulations were also much in evidence. Towards the end of the session, however, Walker bolted on a set of new tyres and immediately improved his leading time to 1min 22.862secs, ensuring that he finished the morning at the head of the order, ahead of USR's Miguel Molina, the surprising Hegewald, Martinez and Fauzy.

''We hadn't used our full quota of tyres in Jerez, so I decided to fit new tyres this morning,'' Walker revealed, ''We've got a very good set-up, our car is really going well.''

After a quiet start to the afternoon, as the teams continued to explore the possibilities and reactions of the modified Dallara chassis, Turvey took up the cudgels to head the times, with Martinez taking over shortly afterwards.

This time, it was the rookies who took the new tyre initiative as the end of the session approached, with Turvey's Carlin team-mate Jaime Alguersuari and Mansell taking turns at the top. Experience told once again, however, as Marco Barba (Draco) laid down the gauntlet by putting in exactly the same time as Walker had managed at the end of the morning.

''I'm still in a learning curve here,'' Turvey admitted, ''But, by talking and working efficiently with the Carlin team, I'm really managing to adapt the car to my driving, and I feel much more comfortable than in Jerez.''

As the chequered flag approached, Turvey and Pic stepped up the pace, with the Frenchman eventually coming away with a new fastest time of 1min 22.712secs, ahead of Turvey and Walker, with Barba fourth on the day.

''We worked all afternoon to improve the car's performance and we're very satisfied with the result,'' Pic admitted, ''I think the circuit will be quicker tomorrow though, like every second day of testing tends to be.''

Day 1 testing results from Valencia - 14th March 2009

1. Charles Pic Tech 1 1min 22.171secs
2. Oliver Turvey Carlin 1min 22.859secs
3. James Walker P1 1min 22.862secs
4. Marco Barba Draco 1min 22.862secs
5. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin 1min 22.968secs
6. Miguel Molina USR 1min 22.975secs
7. Greg Mansell USR 1min 22.978secs
8. Chris van der Drift Epsilon Euskadi 1min 23.097secs
9. Bertrand Baguette Draco 1min 23.284secs
10. Marcos Martinez Pons 1min 23.324secs
11. Edoardo Piscopo Prema 1min 23.500secs
12. Sten Pentus Fortec 1min 23.549secs
13. Adrian Valles Epsilon Euskadi 1min 23.750secs
14. Alexandre Marsoin Comtec 1min 23.842secs
15. Tobias Hegewald Interwetten 1min 23.951secs
16. Omar Julian Leal Prema 1min 24.064secs
17. Fairuz Fauzy Fortec 1min 24.145secs
18. Federico Leo Pons 1min 24.525secs
19. Anton Nebylitski Comtec 1min 24.682secs
20. Frankie Provenzano Tech 1 1min 24.878secs


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