Formula V83.5 Bahrain: Binder leads evening session to top practice

Diego Menchaca and Rene Binder shared the fastest times in practice as the Formula V8 3.5 field ran into the night for the first time this season in Bahrain.

In the series' only trip to the Middle East this year, drivers struggled with several teething issues and the amount of sand on the desert circuit during the two 50-minute sessions.

The first was held at midday and Fortec driver Menchaca traded fastest laps with SMP Racing's late arrival Konstantin Tereschenko.

Menchaca logged a 1m45.246s as the chequered flag came out to deny championship leader Pietro Fittipaldi top spot, with Tereschenko having to settle for third.

Under the Bahrain floodlights it looked like Menchaca was going to top the times again, but the fastest lap of the day by Binder - a 1m44.153s - put him almost 0.6s clear of the rest of the field.

Fittipaldi had a more troubled run in the second session as he could only manage eighth with a 1m45.713, despite feeling happy with the car's set-up.

Title rival Matevos Isaakyan overcame braking issues with his SMP Racing machine in first practice to finish fourth in the second session, less than one tenth of a second behind third-placed Alfonso Celis Jr.

Isaakyan's team-mate Tereschenko finished fifth, having only been phoned about the possibility of joining SMP on Wednesday afternoon.

Celis' 1m44.988s in the late practice was in stark contrast to his slower time in practice one where he complained his Fortec car was slower on the straights than it was at the last round in Austin.

Recovering from an equally poor start to his weekend was Roy Nissany, who suffered multiple problems with the steering and braking systems on his car in the first session.

He set the seventh-best time in FP2 as RP team-mate Yu Kanamaru had a mixed day with sixth and ninth placed finishes.

Series debutants Henrique Chaves and Tatiana Calderon improved as the two practices went on, with the pair using the cooler track temperatures to adjust to the increased downforce and power of the FV8 3.5 cars.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Diego Menchaca Fortec Motorsports 1m45.246s 19
2 Pietro Fittipaldi Lotus 0.315s 13
3 Konstantin Tereschenko SMP Racing by AVF 0.449s 19
4 Rene Binder Lotus 0.495s 15
5 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing by AVF 0.689s 19
6 Yu Kanamaru RP Motorsport 1.087s 18
7 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports 1.095s 16
8 Henrique Chaves Jr. AVF 1.591s 20
9 Tatiana Calderon RP Motorsport 2.012s 14
10 Roy Nissany RP Motorsport 3.262s 19

FP2 times

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Rene Binder Lotus 1m44.153s 14
2 Diego Menchaca Fortec Motorsports 0.576s 20
3 Alfonso Celis Fortec Motorsports 0.835s 17
4 Matevos Isaakyan SMP Racing by AVF 0.891s 15
5 Konstantin Tereschenko SMP Racing by AVF 0.950s 17
6 Henrique Chaves Jr. AVF 1.184s 18
7 Roy Nissany RP Motorsport 1.537s 18
8 Pietro Fittipaldi Lotus 1.560s 16
9 Yu Kanamaru RP Motorsport 1.892s 19
10 Tatiana Calderon RP Motorsport 2.375s 17


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