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Wind disrupts day one in Valencia
1 January 1901
The 13 teams taking part in this year's World Series by Renault finally got their new Dallara chassis on track yesterday [Wednesday], but were then denied a chance to any meaningful running by the weather.
Unusually, it was not the rain that disrupted proceedings, but the regular Valencia winds which, on this occasion, had raised their game, with violent gusts not only affecting the on-track action, but also threatening the safety of those involved off-track as well.
What should have been a day full of useful information at the first session of the season, ended early as the strong wind tore off the frame of the 'Club F1' structure on top of the paddock buildings at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, tossing it into the paddock and causing substantial damage in the process. As a result, the drivers only had time to complete a few warm-up laps before the session was interrupted shortly before midday.
"I had a bit of close thing this morning, when a steel bar came through the side of our truck!" Pons Racing's Marcos Martinez revealed, "And, on the track, I only managed to complete eight laps."
In the limited time available, it was Belgian driver Bertrand Baguette who set the best time, taking his Draco entry to a lap of 1min 25.569secs right at the start of the truncated session. That was enough to put him ahead of RC Motorsport's Roldán Rodriguez and Tech 1's Julien Jousse.
Despite getting only a limited number of laps, Rodriguez will hand over to Borja Garcia, the Spaniard 98 per cent sure of signing for the Italian team, as various operations move closer to finalising their line-ups. New Zealander Johnny Reid is among those counting on the pre-season tests to earn himself a drive, and will get an outing with Fortec on the second day of running.
With the weather conditions due to improve, series organisers have decided to give the teams an uninterrupted day of testing on Thursday, running from 9am to 6pm.
Testing times - Valencia (5 March):
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