Buller on top after Valencia Test

Carlin’s William Buller quickest in mid season testing in Spain

Britain’s William Buller set the pace on the second and final day of testing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo after producing a laptime of 1:26.389 which was three tenths faster than Matias Laine on day one. Mitch Evans (MW Arden) headed the afternoon timings by just one thousandth of a second over the Carlin man.

There was one change to the line-up with Robert Visoiu absent from the test due to an exam so Irishman Gary Thompson made his debut in the Jenzer Motorsport car.

The session started in glorious sunshine and much hotter temperatures than yesterday, with the drivers eager to set a fast time early on. Trident Racing’s Nico Muller set an early benchmark and was on another hot lap when his team mate Vicky Piria spun into the gravel after 20 minutes, thus causing a halt for a red flag. Buller who was in second, soon went P1, a tenth faster than the Swiss driver.

As the track temperature climbed to 42 degrees, the drivers returned to the pits to make set-up changes and to concentrate on long runs in preparation for the upcoming races. Evans and Buller’s Carlin teammate Antonio Felix Da Costa posted the third and fourth fastest times, ahead of Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas who snuck ahead of Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport) at the mid-point of the morning session. Seventh was Series leader Aaro Vainio (Lotus GP) and Kevin Ceccon progressed to eighth in the latter stages in his Ocean Racing Technology car after having a brief moment off track which caused a momentary red flag. Daniel Abt (Lotus GP) and Marlon Stockinger (Status Grand Prix) completed the top ten.

When the afternoon session commenced after the one hour break, the MW Arden trio were first out the blocks along with the Status Grand Prix drivers with Evans topping the timesheets. Stockinger shot to P2 ahead of David Fumanelli and Laine in the first hour. The focus for a lot of the teams was race simulation along with pit stop practice for some crews. Tamas Pal Kiss (Atech CRS GP) jumped up to fourth at the midway point, followed by Niederhauser going P3.

GP3 debutant Gary Thompson rose to P4 in the final thirty minutes of the session whilst fastest man of the day Buller set a laptime just one thousandth of a second off Evans’ best time of the afternoon but remained in P2 at the chequered flag. Stockinger was also just 0.023s off the New Zealander’s best lap showing how fierce the competition at the front is. Ellinas was fourth ahead of Niederhauser, Thompson, Fumanelli, Ceccon, Pal-Kiss and Felix Da Costa.

Italian F3 European Series

Bitter race at Mugello for Nicholas Latifi

Arrived at Mugello circuit, which host the third round of the Italian F3 European Series and the starting race of the tricolour series, determined to get good results just after being on the verge of the podium in Hungary and performing at a high level during test days on Vallelunga and Imola tracks, Nicholas Latifi left Mugello with the awareness of having moved great steps forward but also conscious that his results haven’t been as good as he deserved.

Through the Tuscan track’s ups and downs, the 16-year-old Canadian driver of the JD Motorsport team has shown the progression he had already shown in the previous races, making his performance level being closer and closer to top drivers and improving his chronos after each session. At the end of the second qualifying turn, Nicholas gets a very good 1’40”714, only 5 dec. far from the pole. After being placed eighth at the end of race- 1, in the second race Nicholas fights hand in hand with his rivals and  powerfully places inside the top five.

A car collision during the race forces him to make an unscheduled  pit stop to replace the damaged front wing, compromising his final result.

Nicholas Latifi: “I was very confident going into the Mugello weekend and building on the great performance we had in Hungaroring in the last race and our performances in the vallelunga and Imola test days. I was happy with my progression in the car at Mugello, however in 2 of the races contact with another car ended both my races. I ran as high as 5th place in race 2 and was happy with my times narrowing the gap between myself and the top runners. I am looking forward to the next round in Misano and to continue to improve with each event.”

David Tennyson (driver coach): “Nicholas has continued to develop his skills and speed in Formula 3 with each race weekend. The Mugello event was a tough weekend as a result of a couple of race incidents, however I was very pleased with Nicholas driving and progression in the car. His performance in race 2 demonstrated his ability to run in the top 5 and set the 5th fastest lap of the race before having to pit to replace his front wing, ruining a solid top 5 performance.

Next race will take place on July the 8th at Misano’s circuit, just on that track which was named after the late Marco Simoncelli. 

24 Heures du Mans

JRM Racing to start first Le Mans from 11th position

The team will field a Honda HPD ARX-03a in the top LMP1 class with David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok as its driving line-up.

The team made the best of a difficult day after discovering the gearbox had been damaged in yesterday’s running. The team elected to switch to the race engine as well, thereby lightening the work schedule for tomorrow. As a result it missed most of the earlier qualifying and the work was condensed into the later session, in which Peter Dumbreck exclusively completed. He bettered his time of yesterday to a 3:35.421

David Brabham

I didn’t go out in the car today as I completed more laps yesterday, so it wasn’t a major issue. It’s been a positive practice session as we put all the race gear in and made some changes that have given us a better direction for the race. We’ve come a long way already – I’m sure we can still make some headway before the race.

Karun Chandhok

Yesterday I hit some debris through Tertre Rouge and the car felt like it took off. We didn’t know until we checked thoroughly overnight but the impact of coming back to ground cracked the gearbox. The team then decided to change the engine, which was pretty logical considering we were changing tomorrow anyway. Although I would have liked to drive tonight, I’m just looking forward to getting behind the wheel at my first Le Mans on Saturday.

Peter Dumbreck

It’s been a tough day with a fair few issues but we always knew that as a rookie team in the top class it was going to be that way. The team acted very professionally to get through all the changes and condense the programme into the final session. It will be good to have the day’s break tomorrow to fully understand the information we have and how we can make the most of the race.

Nigel Stepney, chief engineer and team manager

It’s a great feeling to qualify for our first-ever Le Mans. This being our debut, we knew there could possibly be some hitches so we took the precaution of having all our drivers do a minimum of five laps yesterday evening. As it happens this worked out well as we lost the earlier session when we changed the gearbox and the engine. Although we’re not 100% on the set up just yet, clearly our goal has got to be getting to the end and seeing where we are at the finish.

Photo: jakobebrey