Pietro Fantin fastest in Formula Renault 3.5 testing at Jerez

Pietro Fantin set the pace on the first day of post-season Formula Renault 3.5 testing at Jerez on Tuesday

The Brazilian, staying on with his 2014 team Draco, set the fastest lap in both races at the same track last weekend, and he led the way from Lotus pairing Alex Fontana and Matthieu Vaxiviere during the faster morning session.

"We improved the car," said Fantin. "While I set the best time in both races, the car lacked consistency.

"We ran new tyres this morning, but I think it was a little too late.

"For 2015 we are likely to be back. We were unlucky this season, but we have never doubted the potential."

The only driver to improve his time in the afternoon session was GP3 frontrunner Dean Stoneman, who led the way comfortably from Oscar Tunjo to move himself up to ninth overall for the day.

The rest of the top six was completed by drivers with previous FR3.5 experience, as Jerez podium finisher Nicholas Latifi (switching from Tech 1 to Strakka) led Luca Ghiotto (switching from Draco to Fortec) and Beitske Visser, who stayed with AVF.

Jordan King was next up in seventh for Arden, while behind Tunjo and Stoneman, McLaren junior Nyck de Vries completed the top 10 on his first day driving a car faster than a Formula Renault 2.0.

"I am pretty satisfied with the day, especially this morning," said the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup champion, who drove for his 2015 team DAMS.

"We did a really good job with the fresh tyres, yet we should have done this afternoon with new tyres.

"I felt good physically and I really liked the car. I enjoyed it a lot."

Only 19 cars were in action at the test. AVF, Comtec (which missed the season finale) and Tech 1 only ran one car each, while Zeta Corse, which fought for the title this year with Roberto Merhi, was not in action.

The test concludes on Wednesday.

Morning session

Pos Driver               Team                         Time       Gap
 1. Pietro Fantin        International Draco Racing   1m27.915s
 2. Alex Fontana         Lotus                        1m27.977s  +0.062s
 3. Matthieu Vaxiviere   Lotus                        1m28.071s  +0.156s
 4. Nicholas Latifi      Strakka Racing               1m28.160s  +0.245s
 5. Luca Ghiotto         Fortec Motorsports           1m28.206s  +0.291s
 6. Beitske Visser       AVF                          1m28.259s  +0.344s
 7. Jordan King          Arden Motorsport             1m28.433s  +0.518s
 8. Oscar Tunjo          Pons Racing                  1m28.452s  +0.537s
 9. Nyck De Vries        DAMS                         1m28.804s  +0.889s
10. Dennis Olsen         Strakka Racing               1m28.823s  +0.908s
11. Steijn Schothorst    Comtec Racing                1m28.916s  +1.001s
12. Richard Gonda        Tech 1 Racing                1m28.921s  +1.006s
13. Bruno Bonifacio      International Draco Racing   1m28.936s  +1.021s
14. Egor Orudzhev        Fortec Motorsports           1m28.978s  +1.063s
15. Robert Visoiu        Pons Racing                  1m29.035s  +1.120s
16. Gustav Malja         ISR                          1m29.086s  +1.171s
17. Andrea Pizzitola     ISR                          1m29.554s  +1.639s
18. Dean Stoneman        Arden Motorsport             1m29.625s  +1.710s
19. Jimmy Eriksson       DAMS                         1m29.992s  +2.077s

Afternoon session

Pos Driver               Team                         Time       Gap
 1. Dean Stoneman        Arden Motorsport             1m28.710s   
 2. Oscar Tunjo          Pons Racing                  1m28.966s  +0.256s
 3. Luca Ghiotto         Fortec Motorsports           1m29.135s  +0.425s
 4. Alex Fontana         Lotus                        1m29.181s  +0.471s
 5. Jordan King          Arden Motorsport             1m29.263s  +0.553s
 6. Dennis Olsen         Strakka Racing               1m29.368s  +0.658s
 7. Nyck De Vries        DAMS                         1m29.449s  +0.739s
 8. Nicholas Latifi      Strakka Racing               1m29.537s  +0.827s
09. Egor Orudzhev        Fortec Motorsports           1m29.776s  +1.066s
10. Andrea Pizzitola     ISR                          1m29.854s  +1.144s
11. Pietro Fantin        International Draco Racing   1m29.919s  +1.209s
12. Robert Visoiu        Pons Racing                  1m30.028s  +1.318s
13. Jimmy Eriksson       DAMS                         1m30.047s  +1.337s
14. Gustav Malja         ISR                          1m30.146s  +1.436s
15. Beitske Visser       AVF                          1m30.154s  +1.444s
16. Steijn Schothorst    Comtec Racing                1m30.156s  +1.446s
17. Bruno Bonifacio      International Draco Racing   1m30.676s  +1.966s
18. Richard Gonda        Tech 1 Racing                1m31.169s  +2.459s
19. Matthieu Vaxiviere   Lotus                        1m33.177s  +4.467s

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries joins DAMS for 2015 FR3.5 season

Matthieu Vaxiviere on top as Formula Renault 3.5 test ends at Jerez