FR3.5 » 1 January 1901
Old hands show class on day two.
After Giedo van der Garde set the pace on day one of the latest World Series by Renault test in Valencia, Marco Bonanomi took over in top spot for Red Devil Comtec as day two closed at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
The Italian set the fastest time of the day during the morning session, allowing van der Garde - who remained with Cram Competition - and Guillaume Moreau (KTR) to dominate the afternoon proceedings.
While the Dutchman moved into a second day with Cram, the session saw its usual game of musical chairs, as Bonanomi switched to Red Devil Comtec, Moreau to KTR, Miguel Molina to Prema Powerteam and Dani Clos to Pons Racing among the more significant moves. The only rookie on show was 17-year old Spaniard Vitor Garcia, who teamed up with Epsilon Euskadi for his first taste of World Series power.
Charles Pic set the first time to beat, dipping under the 1min 23secs mark with champions Tech 1 Racing. An hour into the session, however, Cram's Pippa Mann caused something of a sensation with a lap timed at 1min 22.429secs. That effort only appeared to open the floodgates, however, and, shortly afterwards, new Draco signing Bertrand Baguette bettered the British girl's time.
Top spot changed hands again in the closing minutes, as Bonanomi turned in the performance of the day by beating Molina's 2006 circuit record with a lap of 1min 21.857secs. Pic returned to the sharp end by clinching second place late on, with Clos and van der Garde lining up behind the Frenchman, despite the Dutchman having his three best times discounted for driving outside of the track boundaries.
"I'd only ever driven on this track in an F3000 car, but I'd already had some contact with the team during a test at Vallelunga," Bonanomi said of his run, "I clocked a good time this morning and, this afternoon, we focused on experimenting with the suspension set-up in preparation for 2008. I hope to finish well tomorrow, as these are the last tests in the current car."
van der Garde was not to be denied his moment of glory, however, but was made to wait before assuming control of the afternoon timesheets. When the action resumed after lunch, the track was noticeably quicker and, shortly after 4pm, Moreau moved into top spot with a 1min 22.316secs effort, displacing Mann, who again belied her 2007 form with a leading time.
Half an hour before the scheduled finish, most of the drivers stopped off for a fresh set of tyres, and Moreau showed the benefit by becoming the first to break the 1min 22secs barrier. The Frenchman was unable to improve further, however, when a technical problem forced him to retire before the chequered flag appeared. van der Garde needed no further encouragement, and promptly reclaimed the lead, posting a time of 1min 21.968secs to secure afternoon honours.
"I think the team and I have shown that we are capable of great things," the Dutchman commented, "My manager was here today with a view to agreeing terms for a second season in the championship."
Despite being denied P1, Moreau remained positive about his first appearance at the circuit.
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