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Wickens pips Ricciardo in the rain

Robert Wickens, Carlin, Barcelona FR3.5 testingRobert Wickens became the first driver this year to deny ISR's Daniel Ricciardo top spot in a Formula Renault 3.5 test session at Barcelona today.

The Canadian Carlin driver was fastest in this afternoon's wet running, recording a lap of 1m55.321s. However, Red Bull's Formula 1 reserve driver Ricciardo maintained honour courtesy of his 1m54.303s this morning, which remained the fastest overall time of the day.

"The day went fairly well," said Wickens. "We stayed to the test plan and got quite a lot accomplished, which considering the weather was quite an achievement.

"It's good to be quickest in the afternoon, but I don't think the times from today are an accurate reflection [on the competitive order] as the conditions and everyone's tyre strategies were so variable. However, the car felt good, I think we have a good wet set-up here, and it's always a nice boost for the team to finish at the top of the timesheets."

Ricciardo, fellow Red Bull junior driver Jean-Eric Vergne and Wickens had also been in attendance at Barcelona's F1 test last week. The Perth-born driver has experience of Barcelona in damp conditions from 2010's collective test and nail-biting title decider, and declared himself satisfied with the ongoing acclimatisation to his new Czech team ISR after taking second to Wickens this afternoon.

"It always seems to rain when we are in Barcelona," said Ricciardo. "The rain was really heavy towards the end of the morning and during lunch, to the point where I didn't think we would get any running this afternoon. Thankfully, the weather settled enough for us to do some good testing in the wet. I feel like I'm gaining more experience and more confidence with the team, so we're in good shape."

Alexander Rossi was fastest of the rookies in the afternoon. The American finished four tenths behind Ricciardo in third in his Fortec entry. Team-mate, and reigning Italian Formula 3 champion, Cesar Ramos ended the afternoon in fourth position.

Albert Costa, who suffered from debilitating flu at this season's Motorland test, took a solid fifth ahead of British Formula 3 champion Vergne. Owing to the treacherous conditions, Frenchman Vergne struggled to capitalise on his new tyres, but was optimistic of improvement for Wednesday's concluding day of running.

"We had a little bit of a problem as the tyres were going off quite quickly, but we still made progress," said Vergne. "The time we did doesn't really reflect the work we did during the day; every time we put new tyres on the track got wetter or there was a red flag, but we're in a good position to make more progress tomorrow."

Pos  Driver             Team             Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Robert Wickens     Carlin           1m55.321s            35
 2.  Daniel Ricciardo   ISR              1m55.405s  + 0.084s  41
 3.  Alexander Rossi    Fortec           1m55.801s  + 0.480s  14
 4.  Cesar Ramos        Fortec           1m56.015s  + 0.694s  19
 5.  Albert Costa       Epsilon Euskadi  1m56.026s  + 0.705s  27
 6.  Jean Eric Vergne   Carlin           1m56.346s  + 1.025s  35
 7.  Arthur Pic         Tech 1           1m56.360s  + 1.039s  46
 8.  Brendon Hartley    Gravity-Charouz  1m56.492s  + 1.171s  34
 9.  Miki Monras        Pons             1m56.815s  + 1.494s  47
10.  Oliver Webb        Pons             1m56.998s  + 1.677s  42
11.  Andre Negrao       Draco            1m57.003s  + 1.682s  42
12.  Jake Rosenzweig    Mofaz            1m57.151s  + 1.830s  37
13.  Nathanael Berthon  ISR              1m57.232s  + 1.911s  32
14.  Walter Grubmuller  P1               1m57.479s  + 2.158s  26
15.  Jan Charouz        Gravity-Charouz  1m57.580s  + 2.259s  25
16.  Kevin Korjus       Tech 1           1m57.637s  + 2.316s  40
17.  Stephane Richelmi  Draco            1m57.816s  + 2.495s  43
18.  Daniel de Jong     Comtec           1m58.113s  + 2.792s  38
19.  Nelson Panciatici  KMP              1m58.218s  + 2.897s  23
20.  Daniel McKenzie    Comtec           1m58.820s  + 3.499s  28
21.  Daniil Move        P1               1m59.048s  + 3.727s  40
22.  Daniel Zampieri    BVM Target       1m59.221s  + 3.900s  30
23.  Anton Nebylitskiy  KMP              1m59.272s  + 3.951s  24
24.  Sergio Canamasas   BVM Target       1m59.547s  + 4.226s  32
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Vergne leads as rain mars FR3.5 test
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