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Just like last season, Julien Jousse (Tech1 Racing) was the quickest man on the track in collective testing today. With a time of 1'35''826, Jousse led the way, ahead of Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) and Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport). These three and their fellow competitors are now all set for tonight's qualifying session, which promises to be an open affair.
The Friday schedule began with a 45-minute collective testing session in the morning as a prelude to the qualifying session in the late afternoon. So the drivers' thoughts were firmly focused on qualifying as the twenty-six Formula Renault 3.5 cars took to the track. The track was crowded from the word go, with all the competitors getting down to action straight away.
The driver order changed with every lap completed on worn tyres. Giedo Van der Garde and Bertrand Baguette set the pace at the start of the session, quickly followed by Guillaume Moreau, Mikhail Aleshin and Fabio Carbone.
Robert Wickens then raised the tempo. The Canadian driver set the fastest time of the session in 1'36''308, ahead of Van der Garde, Aleshin, Duran and Carbone, just as many drivers were stopping off at the pits. The new tyres would soon make their appearance, making the last quarter of an hour a decisive period.
Julien Jousse was the first to make an impression, dipping under the 1'36 mark. The Tech1 Racing driver's 1'35''826 was the fastest time clocked so far, with Van der Garde close behind in 1'35''975. The action was interrupted when Alvaro Barba crashed off and the red flag was brought out nine minutes before the scheduled close. The session eventually got back underway with three minutes remaining, which gave all the drivers one last chance to improve on their times.
There were no further changes in the standings, so Julien Jousse goes in to qualifying as the fastest man in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series… for the time being! The Tech1 Racing driver remains cautious about this afternoon's session, however. "I'm happy with my time from this morning, which was quicker than I managed last year. It proves that we've found a good setup. Getting the best time this morning doesn't mean a lot, as the red flag spoiled everyone's momentum. I think that the track will be slower for qualifying."
Second-placed Giedo Van der Garde also broke the symbolic 1'36 barrier. "We tried a slightly different setup this morning, which didn't really suit me, so for qualifying we're going to go back to the setup we used yesterday."
Jousse and Van der Garde also need to be wary of Robert Wickens, who clocked the quickest time on used tyres this morning. "Our car definitely performs very well on used tyres. That bodes well for the race. It's hard to tell how it handles on new tyres, as I had to come off when the red flag came out. But I remain confident about qualifying."
This evening's qualifying session, which will see the drivers divided into two groups of 13, looks wide open.
World Series by Renault
Tech 1 Racing
|Tech 1 Racing|
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|9 Feb '12||Bianchi suffers first F1 crash of 2012|
|17 Oct '11||Arden and DAMS to debut in 2012|
|19 Jun '11||Korjus takes victory in second race|
|World Series by Renault: Autodromo Nazionale Monza 2008|
|27 Apr '08||Photos: Sunday in Monza|
|27 Apr '08||Van der Garde confirms superb form with a double|
|26 Apr '08||Photos: Saturday in Monza|
|26 Apr '08||Photos: Friday in Monza|
|2 Apr '10||Jousse goes fastest on first day of the season|
|18 Sep '09||Jousse leads first Imola practice|
|4 Sep '09||Identical times at top of first practice|
|16 Aug '09||Jousse wins first F2 race in style|
|World Series by Renault|
|17 May||Sainz Jr. gets Zeta Corse seat for Monaco|
|28 Apr||Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Aragon|
|28 Apr||Huertas takes first win at wet Aragon|
|28 Apr||Second qualifying and race shortened|
|More Julien Jousse photos|