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FORMULA RENAULT 3.5 NEWS 

Aragon FR3.5 test: Rookies Rowland and Gasly lead day one

Oliver Rowland, Fortec, Aragon FR3.5 test, February 2014

Formula Renault 3.5 newcomers Oliver Rowland and Pierre Gasly led the way on the first official day of pre-season testing at Aragon.

The two drivers who fought over last year's Formula Renault Eurocup title - with now-Red Bull supported Gasly coming out on top in that scrap - headed Sauber Formula 1 reserve driver and morning pacesetter Sergey Sirotkin at the top of the times.

Afternoon set-up changes for Fortec's Rowland allowed him to mix it with Sirotkin at the top of the times as the day went on, with the Briton (pictured) setting his best lap and beating the circuit record with 14 minutes remaining.

"This morning was frustrating because we decided to run on used tyres from last year," said Rowland.

"We decided to make a lot of changes to the car, and afterwards, with new tyres, it was just about getting the most out of the tyres at the right moment."

Gasly also spent most of his day on used tyres before putting on a new set near the end, and the Frenchman admitted that his Arden team plans to focus more on new tyre runs over the remainder of the three-day test.

Only 22 of the 26 cars were in action on day one. Former champion team Carlin is sitting out the test, while ISR and Tech 1 (where Nigel Melker will join 2014 signing Marco Sorensen for day two) only ran a single car each.

This week also marks a return to single-seater action for 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series champion Roberto Merhi, who has spent the last two years racing for Mercedes in the DTM.

The Spaniard was only 20th fastest for Zeta Corse as he admitted to spending most of the day re-acclimatising to a single-seater, and he will remain with the team for the duration of the test.

COMBINED DAY ONE TIMES:

Pos  Driver               Team     Time       Gap
 1.  Oliver Rowland       Fortec   1m38.522s
 2.  Pierre Gasly         Arden    1m38.866s  +0.344s
 3.  Sergey Sirotkin      Fortec   1m39.107s  +0.585s
 4.  Pietro Fantin        Draco    1m39.122s  +0.600s
 5.  Jazeman Jaafar       ISR      1m39.316s  +0.794s
 6.  Carlos Sainz         DAMS     1m39.366s  +0.844s
 7.  Matias Laine         Strakka  1m39.409s  +0.887s
 8.  Norman Nato          DAMS     1m39.444s  +0.922s
 9.  Zoel Amberg          AVF      1m39.520s  +0.998s
10.  Luca Ghiotto         Draco    1m39.668s  +1.146s
11.  Will Buller          Arden    1m39.805s  +1.283s
12.  Will Stevens         Strakka  1m39.862s  +1.340s
13.  Nikolay Martsenko    Comtec   1m40.007s  +1.485s
14.  Marco Sorensen       Tech 1   1m40.028s  +1.506s
15.  Nigel Melker         Zeta     1m40.076s  +1.554s
16.  Daniil Move          Pons     1m40.252s  +1.730s
17.  Marlon Stockinger    Lotus    1m40.261s  +1.739s
18.  Matthieu Vaxiviere   Lotus    1m40.492s  +1.970s
19.  Meindert van Buuren  Pons     1m40.504s  +1.982s
20.  Roberto Merhi        Zeta     1m40.861s  +2.339s
21.  Beitske Visser       AVF      1m41.345s  +2.823s
22.  Liam Venter          Comtec   1m42.984s  +4.462s
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