Motorland Aragón – Practice sessions
Will Stevens stays grounded
Will Stevens (Fortec Motorsport) had the perfect start to the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, posting the best times in both practice sessions for the first race of the season. Consistently at the head of the pack, the British driver showed he is fully prepared for the start of racing, though very much aware that the hardest is yet to come. You can never rule out Javier Tarancon (Tech 1 Racing), and Alex Riberas (Epic Racing), both canny racers eager to shine in front of their home crowd in Spain.
In the sunshine at Motorland Aragón, the 38 drivers enrolled in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, set the ball rolling for the first round of World Series by Renault. After a few laps devoted to settling in and sizing up the opposition, Alex Riberas set the first significant time of the day with a 1’‘58’’152 lap. After ten minutes on the track, Epic Racing’s new Spanish driver was setting the pace, ahead of Will Stevens and Mathieu Jaminet (Josef Kaufmann Racing).
Riberas, Stevens and Jaminet were constantly outdoing each other. They were the first to clock times under 1’58, with Stevens putting the best provisional time on the board, at 1’57”736. In the last few minutes, the two frontrunners of the first session this weekend reached new heights. With a lap of 1’56””727, Riberas thought he had done enough to set the best time of the morning, beating Stevens, and Stoffel Vandoorne (KTR). But Stevens, third in the 2010 Formula Renault UK championship, snatched top spot at the death, with a final lap of 1’56”515.
If temperatures were rising with the early afternoon sun, events on the track started to cool down. The drivers practised sequences of laps and Vandoorne led the first part of the afternoon session, ahead of Karl Oscar Liiv (MP Motorsport), and Will Stevens, without getting close to the benchmark times set in the morning.
Racing was stopped after Carlos Sainz Jr (Koiranen Motorsport) came off the track, but after the interruption, Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorspot) was the first to come close to Stevens’ time, with a 1’56”668 lap. Javier Tarancon came even closer towards the end of the session, with a time of 1’56’’547. The Spanish Tech 1 Racing driver finished the second practice session at the top of the leaderboard, but at the end of the day, Stevens had posted the best time.
Will Stevens : “They were only test runs ; the championship wasn’t in play today, but it’s always nice to start to season at the top of the timesheet. Now I can relax a bit, and it gives me a boost for the next races! It’s going to be very competitive this year, a lot of people could win it. Getting a good start is vital.”
Alex Riberas : “We worked hard all winter to be ready today. The team reorganized, and Epic Racing was the outcome. It’s a great project, and I really want to do well with them. Being with the frontrunners from the very beginning is a great confidence-booster. I know there’s still a lot to do, but we are all very driven to succeed.”
Stoffel Vandoorne : “Through the winter break we did some good work. My podium finish in the first race of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC last week proved that we have potential. Today, even if I didn’t clock the best time, I was up there, which is the most important thing. We’ve worked hard for this race, now we have to prove ourselves in qualifying tomorrow! I can’t wait.”