Valencia-born Borja Garc?a made a successful return to the World Series by Renault ranks, setting the fastest time of the first group test session with the new Dallara chassis at his home circuit.

The Spaniard appears poised to switch back from GP2 for the second time, and hopes to dovetail his World Series commitments with RC Motorsport with a possible F1 test drive at Williams. Not having driven a WSbR machine since 2006 appeared to make little difference to Garcia, who took the new Dallara around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo quickest of all on day two of the test.

After the opening day had been disrupted by the weather, and damage caused to the circuit's infrastructure by high winds, the teams could finally get down to business on Thursday. Straight away, lap times began to come down, with Comtec's Marco Bonanomi the first to duck under Bertrand Baguette's benchmark from day one.

As the field explored the limits of the new Dallara, however, the standings changed with almost every lap, with Garc?a moving to the top of the pile, only be displaced by Prema's Miguel Molina, before Baguette bettered everyone. Interwetten's Salvador Duran then took his turn to grab top spot, and improved on his own time before Guillaume Moreau moved to the head of the pile.

Prior to the Frenchman's move, the top eight drivers were separated by less than a second, with Garc?a, Molina, Moreau, Baguette, Charles Pic, Bonanomi and Robert Wickens giving chase to Duran, and it was the Italian who next shot to P1. The lap record holder in the previous version of the WSbR car, Bonanomi moved back to the top of the standings with a lap of 1min 22.374secs before the session took a lull.

With teams only having one car for the test, the majority of the drivers handed over to team-mates in the afternoon but, with just over half an hour to go, Garc?a returned to the track and took control of affairs again, lapping in 1min 22.031secs and putting top spot beyond the reach of his rivals while, behind him, Marco Barba moved up to fourth position for Draco, while Comtec's Pasquale di Sabatino produced a flying lap right at the death to take third.

"It was a very good day, but fairly tiring because I spent a lot of time on the track," Garcia commented, "I waited until the end of the session to try and set the best time. These test sessions with the new car were very decisive. Now all I have to do is sign for RC Motorsport."

The tests were not however all about performance, however, as fifth-placed Moreau explained.

"The aim was to gather as much information as possible for the team, to identify what needs to be worked on with this new car," the Frenchman commented, "We found a solid base and a good set-up, although, having said that, we broke the clutch in the afternoon, which disrupted our plans somewhat."

Renault Sport Technologies' engineers were also pleased with the first test with the new car.

"Apart from a gearbox problem for Prema Powerteam and a broken clutch on the KTR car, we didn't have any major problems, which can always happen with a new race car," explained track operations manager Emmanuel Esnault, "We are going to improve the driving position and a few technical details but, overall, we are pleased with these test sessions."

The few details that still need to be ironed out will be addressed before the next test, scheduled to take place in Barcelona at the start of April.

Testing times - Valencia (6 March):

Borja Garcia RC 1m 22.031sMarco Bonanomi Comtec 1m 22.374sPasquale di Sabatino Comtec 1m 22.440sMarco Barba Draco 1m 22.515sGuillaume Moreau KTR 1m 22.557sMikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m 22.633sSalvador Duran Interwetten 1m 22.672sMarcos Martinez Pons 1m 22.718sGiedo van der Garde P1 1m 22.723sBertrand Baguette Draco 1m 22.754sRobert Wickens Carlin 1m 22.778sAlexandre Marsoin Spsilon Euskadi 1m 23.005sDaniil Move KTR 1m 23.073sJulien Jousse Tech 1 1m 23.094sFabio Carbone Ultimate Signature 1m 23.261sMiguel Molina Prema 1m 23.297sPablo Sanchez Interwetten 1m 23.392sJames Walker Fortec 1m 23.451sCharles Pic Tech 1 1m 23.529sMario Romancini Epsilon Euskadi 1m 23.618sJonny Reid Fortec 1m 24.029sAlvaro Barba Prema 1m 24.166sMaximo Cortes Pons 1m 24.440sPippa Mann P1 1m 24.952sClaudio Cantelli Ultimate Signature 1m 25.241s

 

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