Guerrieri tops Barcelona practice

Esteban Guerrieri sent out a statement of intent to his championship rivals by recording the fastest time in the opening Formula Renault 3.5 free practice session at Barcelona this morning

Guerrieri tops Barcelona practice

The Argentinean ISR racer is one of three drivers who can capture the series' title in this weekend's final round.

Guerrieri lies third in the standing, 16 points behind long-time championship leader Mikhail Aleshin. The Carlin driver ended the morning in eighth, but will not be too despondent to see his closest challenger, Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo, down in 19th place.

Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver Ricciardo, who is just three points off Aleshin's series lead, ran on old tyres during the session and concentrated on light aerodynamic set-up work for tomorrow's opening race.

In search of his maiden victory of the season, 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion Albert Costa was second fastest, some four tenths shy of Guerrieri's 1m34.845s benchmark.

Junior Lotus Racing's Nelson Panciatici was third, leading a strong showing from Carlin's American rookie Jake Rosenzweig. P1 Motorsport's Walter Grubmuller and Costa's Epsilon Euskadi team-mate Keisuke Kunimoto completed the top six.

Bruno Mendez was forced to sit out his home race after breaking his hand during a debut Superleague appearance with Atletico Madrid at the Chinese Ordos circuit last weekend.

Interwetten has substituted the 2009 European Formula 3 Open champion with former driver, and Barcelona specialist, Salvador Duran, who finished 10th fastest this morning.

"It was a very last minute deal," said Duran. "I have been racing in NASCAR Mexico this year, so it was quite difficult to adapt to the G-force and the braking points. I am here because I have a very good relationship with [FHV Interwetten boss] Walter Thimmler. We've worked together for two and a half years, and he is helping me a lot.

"Honestly, I think a top 10 this weekend would be a good result, as I have a lot of respect for the drivers ahead of me. NASCAR Mexico is a good professional series with grids of 42 or 43 cars, but it is a mixture of racing and show business, so I would quite like to come back to something like [Formula Renault 3.5] next year."

Recently crowned British Formula 3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne joined Mendez as an absentee, owing to prior work obligations. The Frenchman is set to arrive at the circuit this afternoon, but will most likely have his first run of the weekend in Saturday morning's qualifying session.

Reigning Formula 2 champion Dean Stoneman acquitted himself well on his competition debut in the category, finishing two tenths off his closest rival in 23rd. The Briton is stepping into a seat recently vacated by Daniil Move at Junior Lotus.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Esteban Guerrieri ISR 1m34.845s 2. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 1m35.302s + 0.457s 3. Nelson Panciatici Junior Lotus 1m35.304s + 0.459s 4. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin 1m35.355s + 0.510s 5. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m35.447s + 0.602s 6. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon Euskadi 1m35.524s + 0.679s 7. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m35.658s + 0.813s 8. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m35.715s + 0.870s 9. Filip Salaquarda ISR 1m36.055s + 1.210s 10. Salvador Duran FHV Interwetten 1m36.171s + 1.326s 11. Jon Lancaster Fortec 1m36.179s + 1.334s 12. Victor Garcia KMP 1m36.182s + 1.337s 13. Sergio Canamasas FHV Interwetten 1m36.280s + 1.435s 14. Julian Leal Draco 1m36.384s + 1.539s 15. Nathanael Berthon Draco 1m36.396s + 1.551s 16. Jan Charouz P1 1m36.418s + 1.573s 17. Stefano Coletti Comtec 1m36.493s + 1.648s 18. Daniel Zampieri Pons 1m36.596s + 1.751s 19. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 1m36.717s + 1.872s 20. Sten Pentus Fortec 1m36.774s + 1.929s 21. Federico Leo Pons 1m36.914s + 2.069s 22. Greg Mansell Comtec 1m36.932s + 2.087s 23. Dean Stoneman Junior Lotus 1m37.188s + 2.343s 
Guerrieri triumphs after epic battle
Previous article

Guerrieri triumphs after epic battle

Next article

Ricciardo fastest in second practice

Ricciardo fastest in second practice
Load comments
How the post-Renault 3.5 series is shaping up Plus

How the post-Renault 3.5 series is shaping up

When Renault ended its support of its 3.5 Formula, there were fears about the category's future. But as PETER MILLS explains, the rebadged FV8 3.5 series has retained an appeal to drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Feb 3, 2016
The all-time FR3.5 top 10 Plus

The all-time FR3.5 top 10

An era ended in 2015 as Renault withdrew its backing of Formula Renault 3.5. GLENN FREEMAN and PETER MILLS pick the 10 best drivers from the World Series by Renault years

Formula V8 3.5
Jan 8, 2016
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2015 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2015

The 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season will be notable for being the last with the French company's backing but also produced a worthy champion in Oliver Rowland. PETER MILLS evaluates this year's crop of drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 17, 2015
Renault's ladder to Formula 1 Plus

Renault's ladder to Formula 1

Since 2005 the World Series by Renault package has launched a host of young stars on the path to Formula 1. But there's much more to the events, both on and off the track

Formula V8 3.5
Aug 13, 2015
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2014

The field was perhaps not as strong as in the previous season, but Carlos Sainz Jr emerged as a worthy Formula Renault 3.5 champion. GLENN FREEMAN rates the top 2014 drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 11, 2014
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2013 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2013

There were some standout performances in the Formula Renault 3.5 title race this year, but one racer stood above all the others. GLENN FREEMAN looks back and picks out his top 10 drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 15, 2013
The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 grid guide Plus

The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 grid guide

Last year's field was extraordinary and hard to match, but the Formula Renault 3.5 grid will still have plenty of talent this season. Glenn Freeman runs through the field ahead of this weekend's season opener

Formula V8 3.5
Apr 4, 2013
Vandoorne: future McLaren F1 star? Plus

Vandoorne: future McLaren F1 star?

Landing the Fortec seat that took rising star Robin Frijns to the 2012 FR3.5 title was already a good sign for Stoffel Vandoorne. Then McLaren took him under its wing. Peter Mills tells Vandoorne's story so far

Formula V8 3.5
Feb 20, 2013