Robin Frijns sets the pace in Paul Ricard FR 3.5 testing

Reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion Robin Frijns set the fastest time on the first day of pre-season testing for the new Formula Renault 3.5 car at Paul Ricard on Tuesday

Robin Frijns sets the pace in Paul Ricard FR 3.5 testing

The Fortec Motorsports driver snatched the top spot away from the more experienced Alexander Rossi and Jules Bianchi in the closing stages of the day, with fellow rookie Richie Stanaway (Lotus/Gravity-Charouz) joining him at the top just before the end.

F1 test drivers Bianchi and Rossi ended the day third and fourth for Tech 1 and Arden respectively, while Carlos Huertas was another rookie to shine as he put the second Fortec car in the top five.

The first day of running was a busy one for the teams, who were essentially shaking down the brand new cars, particularly in the morning. While the day was affected by a few red flags and some quiet periods with no cars on track, Renault's technical team was pleased with the debut of its new racer.

Renault Sport Technologies competition director Francois Champod said: "To see the 26 drivers out on track on Tuesday was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the competition department and our technical partners.

"Everything went off well on this first day and after finding their way around the car, the drivers picked up the pace. It was very satisfying to see the teams post such good performances on their very first day with the new car."

The new FR3.5 proved nearly three seconds quicker than its predecessor, with Frijns's best lap of 1m47.006s comparing to the lap record of 1m49.901s for the old car, set by 2011 champion Robert Wickens.

Session times:

Pos  Driver                Team                     Time     
 1.  Robin Frijns          Fortec Motorsports       1m47.006s
 2.  Richie Stanaway       Lotus                    1m47.125s  + 0.119
 3.  Jules Bianchi         Tech 1 Racing            1m47.252s  + 0.246
 4.  Alexander Rossi       Arden Caterham           1m47.302s  + 0.296
 5.  Carlos Huertas        Fortec Motorsports       1m47.388s  + 0.382
 6.  Arthur Pic            Dams                     1m47.445s  + 0.439
 7.  Kevin Magnussen       Carlin                   1m47.531s  + 0.525
 8.  Andrè Negrao          International Draco      1m47.576s  + 0.570
 9.  Walter Grubmuller     P1 Motorsport            1m47.757s  + 0.751
10.  Marco Sorensen        Lotus                    1m47.757s  + 0.751
11.  Lewis Williamson      Arden Caterham           1m47.989s  + 0.983
12.  Nico Muller           International Draco      1m48.286s  + 1.280
13.  Daniil Move           P1 Motorsport            1m48.317s  + 1.311
14.  Kevin Korjus          Tech 1 Racing            1m48.501s  + 1.495
15.  Sam Bird              Isr                      1m48.519s  + 1.513
16.  Vittorio Ghirelli     Comtec Racing            1m48.933s  + 1.927
17.  Anton Nebylitskiy     Team Rfr                 1m49.127s  + 2.121
18.  Lucas Foresti         Dams                     1m49.204s  + 2.198
19.  Giovanni Venturini    Bvm Target               1m49.383s  + 2.377
20.  Mikhail Aleshin       Team Rfr                 1m49.613s  + 2.607
21.  Nick Yelloly          Comtec Racing            1m49.753s  + 2.747
22.  Nicolay Martsenko     Bvm Target               1m49.843s  + 2.837
23.  Jake Rosenzweig       Isr                      1m50.317s  + 3.311
24.  Yann Cunha            Pons Racing              1m50.404s  + 3.398
25.  Zoel Amberg           Pons Racing              1m50.435s  + 3.429
26.  Will Stevens          Carlin                   1m50.454s  + 3.448
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