Navarra – Joint practice
Carlos Sainz Jr. keeps the momentum!
No sooner the first meeting of the season over than the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers met up again at the Navarra Circuit for two days of joint practice. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Koiranen Motorsport), who tops the championship standings after the two Motorland Aragon races, confirmed his current form by producing the fastest lap time of the two days, 1’36”348, just before the track was doused by a downpour today. Stoffel Vandoorne (KTR) was credited with the second best performance of these test sessions ahead of Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport).
No respite for the drivers in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. By Tuesday morning, the thirty-five drivers were back on track at the Navarra circuit near the town of Los Arcos, in the heart of the Foral (Chartered) Community of Navarre. For the vast majority of drivers, the first job was to get familiarized with this new 3.9 km track.
Carrying out two days of tests on a neutral circuit, which doesn’t feature on the Formula Renault 2.0 race calendar this year, allowed the drivers to focus on setting up their cars. As a result, all the teams sent their drivers out on multiple runs, with for instance Henrique Martins (Cram Compétition) clocking up 70 laps on Tuesday morning alone!
The rankings changed with dizzying regularity on Tuesday morning. Colombian driver Oscar Tunjo (Josef Kaufman Racing) got himself in the limelight producing the fastest lap time of the morning (1’37”576). The pace quickened in the afternoon, when new rubber came on. Carlos Sainz Jr. put in a time befitting of his rank of leader in the discipline. He posted the best time of the day, with a 1’36”880 lap. His teammates Daniil Kvyat Joni Wiman occupied second and third positions.
On Wednesday morning the session got off to a quick start. Carlos Sainz Jr. clocked 1’36”348 to improve on his own best time. Stoffel Vandoorne moved up to second place, just ahead of Daniil Kvyat. All the drivers were subsequently impeded by a severe downpour. After adapting the cars to the wet track conditions, the drivers took advantage of the situation to practice in the wet. Daniil Kvyat showed the quickest turn of pace in the rain, ahead of Joni Wiman and Miki Weckstrom (Tech 1 Racing).
The track gradually dried out in the afternoon. Laps times fell continually and then the first new tyres came out with the final hour of testing to go. But the rain came down again, freezing the rankings. Carlos Sainz Jr’s time was not to be bettered. The native of Madrid had eloquently underlined his good form of the moment.
Carlos Sainz Jr: “We really weren’t concentrating on the times during these two days, but on the set-up of the car. We had a couple of doubts to clear up, so it was good to get these sessions under our belt on the back of Motorland. We’re on top of the standings again, and it’s good for morale. The start to this season has been perfect for me, with two wins in Formula Renault NEC and a victory in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. I am leading both championships, which motivates me to work even more. Now all we need for a great end to today is for Real Madrid to win tonight against Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey!”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was great to be able to perform two days of testing, immediately after a race weekend. In our case, there was something hampering us at Motorland Aragón. We’ve pinpointed the problem and found the solution to it. We’ve done a lot of work on the car over these two days. We were going well on the dry and as we haven’t had much opportunity to try out in the wet so far, the downpour was actually pretty welcome. Right now all my attention is on one thing – doing well on my home turf at Spa-Francorchamps.”