Dillmann leads FR3.5's guest test

Twenty-five of the world's leading Formula 3 and Formula Renault 2.0 drivers were invited by Renault Sport Technologies to try out the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Motorland Aragon yesterday

Dillmann leads FR3.5's guest test

The F3 men put on an impressive display. ISR ran German F3 champion Tom Dillmann to the fastest time in the session, less than two tenths of a second off the day's overall fastest time set by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

"It's great that Renault invited us here, I wanted to drive a car like this for a long time, but I have always struggled with the budget," said Dillmann.

"I don't have any firm plans for next year or tests lined up. It is also a shame that we will miss out on Macau - the only way I can go there is if someone drops out at the last minute. I know previous German F3 champions Carlo van Dam and Joao Paulo de Oliveira went into professional rides in Japan, but with the crisis out there it's very difficult for them to take a European driver.

"I'm on the hunt for partners to support me in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next season. I'm hoping that a fastest lap will help me with my plans."

Williams Formula 1 reserve driver and F3 Euro Series race-winner Valtteri Bottas ended the afternoon session second-fastest for Tech 1 Racing, 0.018 seconds behind the Frenchman, and ahead of Pons Racing's Kevin Magnussen.

"At the moment everything is open for next year," said Bottas. "I had the offer of coming to test this car last year, but my management [Didier Coton] knew I would be staying in F3 so we said no.

"If everything stays normal I should be with Williams again next year, but whether I am in F3 again, doing this or something else isn't decided. The car is pretty fast, but it is also quite big, so in some corners it is a bit lazy. Overall it has been a really positive day."

British F3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne and European Open F3 champion Marco Barba, both of whom have raced in the FR3.5 category, completed the top five.

The majority of the drivers invited were experiencing their first taste of Formula Renault 3.5, including national and regional Formula Renault 2.0 champions Kevin Korjus (Eurocup), Tom Blomqvist (UK), Ludwig Ghidi (NEC), Francesco Frisone (Italy) and Miika Kunrata (Finland). Estonian Korjus had the honour of finishing fastest of the Formula Renault 2.0 graduates who arrived without prior experience, in 11th place.

"This car is a cracker," said Korjus, whose management is in discussions with F3 and FR3.5 teams for next year. "The power was quite a surprise in the first few laps, but you soon get used to it. The braking is such that you really have to work hard to keep on the pace. I worked really hard with Jean-Eric Vergne. He's helped me a lot. We tried different set-ups today to see how I react."

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series now goes into hibernation, awaiting the first collective test session in early 2011.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Tom Dillmann ISR 1m42.866s 2. Valtteri Bottas Tech 1 1m42.884s + 0.018s 3. Kevin Magnussen Pons 1m43.231s + 0.365s 4. Jean Eric Vergne Carlin 1m43.539s + 0.673s 5. Marco Barba Draco 1m43.575s + 0.709s 6. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m43.658s + 0.792s 7. Marco Wittmann KMP 1m43.661s + 0.795s 8. Cesar Ramos P1 1m43.720s + 0.854s 9. Giovanni Venturini Epsilon Euskadi 1m43.795s + 0.929s 10. Will Stevens P1 1m43.877s + 1.011s 11. Kevin Korjus Carlin 1m43.997s + 1.131s 12. Tom Blomqvist Fortec 1m44.054s + 1.188s 13. Oli Webb Fortec 1m44.063s + 1.197s 14. Kimiya Sato Comtec 1m44.119s + 1.253s 15. Luciano Bacheta Junior Lotus 1m44.151s + 1.285s 16. Adriano Buzaid Tech 1 1m44.182s + 1.316s 17. Lewis Williamson ISR 1m44.636s + 1.770s 18. Ludwig Ghidi Comtec 1m44.775s + 1.909s 19. David Fumanelli Pons 1m45.026s + 2.160s 20. Yuji Kunimoto Epsilon Euskadi 1m45.608s + 2.742s 21. Francesco Frisone BVM Target 1m45.751s + 2.885s 22. Bruno Andrade Junior Lotus 1m46.013s + 3.147s 23. Miika Kunranta FHV Interwetten 1m46.251s + 3.385s 24. Bastien Borget KMP 1m46.932s + 4.066s 25. Yuichi Nakayama FHV Interwetten 1m48.998s + 6.132s 
Quaife-Hobbs impresses in testing

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