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As predicted, lap times saw a marked improvement in Portugal on Friday. Mofaz Fortec Motorsport's Fairuz Fauzy set the best time in free practice ahead of Comtec Racing's Jon Lancaster and Carlin Motorsport's Oliver Turvey. With fifteen cars within a second of each other, qualifying looks set to be wide open.
The weather was today hot at Portimao and it looks like the trend for the weekend. Prior to the qualifying session programmed for the end of the day, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers took part in a one-hour free practice session. There were no preliminaries this Friday morning, as from the word go International Draco Racing's Bertrand Baguette positioned himself at the top of the time-sheet with a lap time close to that set by P1 Motorsport's James Walker the previous day.
But it was Epsilon Euskadi's Dani Clos who was the first to beat Walker's time. With a lap of 1'34"171, the Spaniard took the lead over the rest of the pack. P1 Motorsport's Daniil Move did almost as well, taking second place just two hundredths behind the leader. But Baguette was on form this morning and, with a time of 1'34"089, regained his lead.
The mid-session saw a second wave of improvements. Clos was the first of the drivers to lap in less than 1'34. Credited with a time of 1'33"736 he led, for the time being at least, Oliver Turvey, Fairuz Fauzy, Bertrand Baguette and Daniil Move. Then it was the turn of International Draco Racing's Marco Barba to shine, leading the charge with a time of 1'33'337. Fauzy also raised the stakes, climbing to second-place ahead of Clos, Sten Pentus and Comtec Racing's Alberto Valerio.
In the closing minutes, new tyres went on allowing KMP Group/SG Formula's Guillaume Moreau to set the second fastest lap. In time, he was relegated to fourth place when RC Motosport's Pasqual DiSabatino set another fastest lap in 1'33"003 while Prema Powerteam's Filipe Salaquarda squeezed into third.
Lapping in 1'32"662, Oliver Turvey took his turn to lead the dance, but only briefly as Jon Lancaster bettered his time in 1'32"635. Only Fauzy launched a final run of flying laps. With times of 1'32"600, then 1'32"166, the Malaysian driver had the final say. At the end of the morning, he led the field ahead of Lancaster, Turvey, Walker and Baguette.
World Series by Renault
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