Local favourite Jan Charouz was fastest in the opening Formula Renault 3.5 collective test at Brno this morning
Charouz, who is set to demonstrate a Renault Formula 1 roadshow car this weekend, displaced Comtec's Stefano Coletti to move to the top of the timing screens 25 minutes before the end of the 75-minute session.
Monegasque Coletti held on to end the morning in second, two tenths adrift of Charouz and just 0.060s ahead of Fortec's Jon Lancaster.
"I messed up the last corner, so I am reasonably happy to be P3 having blown a couple of tenths," said Lancaster. "The circuit is so abrasive that you are only going to get one lap out of new tyres before they're completely destroyed.
"This is one of the first races we have been to where everyone is starting pretty level. I know the P1 drivers have done an Auto GP race here, but I think they've just been out on new tyres, and also Coletti ran new tyres earlier in the session, while the tyres that I started on had done around 50km. I think that we will try running the low-aero [configuration] in preparation for tomorrow's race this afternoon."
Monaco winner Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, separated by 0.021s from his former British Formula 3 adversary Grubmuller. The Austrian, sporting a new moustache, is recovering well from his airborne Auto GP accident at Imola last month.
"I am a bit yellow still from the bruising, but apart from a couple of points which hurt if you apply pressure, I don't really feel anything and I am sure I will be fine for the race," said Grubmuller.
"In the accident, there were some cars on the grass and the next thing I knew I was going over the back of [Luca] Filippi. I was sent to hospital for some check-ups, but they didn't find any fractures. Here, I think that the circuit is quite tough, I am not sure what the others were doing but both Jan and I tried new tyres this morning."
There were differing fortunes at Epsilon Euskadi; Macau winner Keisuke Kunimoto took sixth, while team-mate Albert Costa - fresh from a podium in Monaco - propped up the classification.
Having been quickest in the early stages of the session, championship leader Mikhail Aleshin slipped to seventh. Aleshin has an extra incentive to maintain his advantage in the title race, as the championship leader after Brno's meeting will receive a prize Renault Formula 1 roadshow outing at the forthcoming round at Magny-Cours on June 19-20.
This morning's session was interrupted by two red flags after incidents for Daniil Move at Turn 9 and Victor Garcia at Turn 1.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Jan Charouz P1 1m43.716s 2. Stefano Coletti Comtec 1m43.955s +0.239 3. Jon Lancaster Fortec 1m44.015s +0.299 4. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 1m44.036s +0.320 5. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m44.120s +0.404 6. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon 1m44.205s +0.489 7. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m44.292s +0.576 8. Nathanael Berthon Draco 1m44.325s +0.609 9. Filip Salaquarda ISR 1m44.429s +0.713 10. Federico Leo Pons 1m44.563s +0.847 11. Nelson Panciatici Junior Lotus 1m44.685s +0.969 12. Daniel Zampieri Pons 1m45.061s +1.345 13. Julian Leal Draco 1m45.119s +1.403 14. Greg Mansell Comtec 1m45.141s +1.425 15. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 1m45.379s +1.663 16. Victor Garcia KMP 1m45.505s +1.789 17. Esteban Guerrieri ISR 1m45.588s +1.872 18. Sten Pentus Fortec 1m45.627s +1.911 19. Daniil Move Junior Lotus 1m45.682s +1.966 20. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin 1m46.302s +2.586 21. Sergio Canamasas Interwetten 1m46.411s +2.695 22. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m46.416s +2.700 23. Bruno Mendez Interwetten 1m47.252s +3.536 24. Albert Costa Epsilon 1m47.504s +3.788
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