FR3.5 » 1 January 1901
Pic pensions off old era.
Charles Pic topped the times on the final day of testing with the original World Series by Renault car, ahead of next year's introduction of a second generation machine.
After three years of loyal service, the Dallara chassis bowed out as the Valencia test came to a close with FRenault graduate Pic, again running with Tech 1 Racing, setting the fastest time of day three at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
With the sun gracing the morning session, Mikhail Aleshin set the ball rolling after an hour of track time with the first meaningful lap, posting a 1min 21.808secs effort despite running a high fever. Pic, however, had been looking very sharp since the start of the session, and soon hit back with a better time of 1min 21.677secs. Marco Bonanomi, who had led the way on day two, then usurped the Frenchman, by taking Red Devil Comtec to the head of the board, only for Pic to regain the upper hand with a 1min 21.391secs lap.
"The track was clearly faster than it was yesterday," Pic commented, "I've made some useful progress on my driving technique and we are now going to work on that to analyse and understand the data that we have collected over the last three days."
As if had throughout the week, the track proved to be slower after the break for lunch, but that did not prevent occasional WSbR runner Yelmer Buurman from moving to the top of the session times on 1min 22.133secs. The Dutchman remained untouched for some time, before Aleshin edged closer to the 1min 22secs threshold.
"I've been testing in GP2, F3 and DTM recently," Buurman pointed out, "so, understandably, I had a little trouble getting back to grips with the World Series car."
The leading contenders for the fastest time then waited until the final hour of the session before switching to fresh rubber. Guillaume Moreau set the pace for KTR with an excellent time of 1min 21.614secs, before Bonanomi, Jousse, Pic, Molina and Baguette all took it in turns to improve on the Frenchman's fastest lap. Moreau wasn't able to do any better on his second set of new tyres, but Pic picked up a little extra pace to finish second in the session, ahead of Baguette, Bonanomi and Molina.
"We have significantly improved the settings on the car today, and I had two sets of fresh tyres at my disposal this afternoon," Moreau revealed, "The first run went well, but I'm sure I could have gone two tenths better if it hadn't been for the yellow flags."
Several drivers would have featured higher up the order had it not been for having their times disallowed for running underweight - including Michael Herck and Daniil Move - or exceeding the allowed limits of the track, with Marco Barba and Bonanomi at fault. With the Italian unable to up his pace, Aleshin was left to take the second best lap of the day, and the week as a whole.
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