Silverstone Formula Renault 3.5: Tio Ellinas, Strakka top practice

Strakka Racing's Tio Ellinas recovered from a fuel pump problem in the opening session to lead the Formula Renault 3.5 practice day at Silverstone

Silverstone Formula Renault 3.5: Tio Ellinas, Strakka top practice

The Cypriot set a quickest lap of 1m41.494s three minutes before the chequered flag in practice two, edging out DAMS' Red Bull junior Dean Stoneman by 0.158 seconds.

Ellinas' difficulties in first practice, when his car ground to a halt at The Loop, led to the morning session being red-flagged for the second time.

"It's good to be back in a car after the championship's long [two-month] summer break," said Ellinas, who is striving for his maiden FR3.5 win.

"It has been a bit tough and intense for my family recently as my grandfather has just died, so I hope I can achieve a good result this weekend to dedicate something to him."

Draco driver Pietro Fantin had set the fastest time on Friday morning.

The Brazilian recorded a quickest lap of 1m43.055s, some 0.488s clear of championship challenger Matthieu Vaxiviere, who backed up his morning effort with third in second practice and is aiming to reduce a 26-point deficit to leader Oliver Rowland over the weekend.

DAMS pairing Nyck de Vries and Dean Stoneman finished third and fifth in session one, sandwiching Ellinas.

Fortec driver Rowland sat out 10 minutes of the opening session as a penalty for the track time gained contesting Silverstone's GP2 meeting in July.

The Briton finished sixth and fourth fastest respectively in the two Friday sessions.

Rowland has a busy weekend lined up, as he will also demonstrate a Red Bull Renault Formula 1 car as a prize for being the mid-season points leader.

AVF's Dutch racer Beitske Visser was also docked 10 minutes of track time in first practice, owing to a Formula 3 test at Silverstone over the winter.

The first red flag in the morning was caused by Monaco winner Jazeman Jaafar, who stopped because of a problem with the emergency switch of his Fortec car. The Malaysian completed just five laps.

Former Hilmer GP2 driver Nick Yelloly did not complete any laps in first practice on his first FR3.5 outing of the year with the Charouz-run Lots team, but finished a solid 13th in the afternoon.

Making his return to racing after a two-year hiatus, and a four-year break from single-seaters, FR3.5 debutant Will Bratt improved throughout each session but propped up the bottom of the timing screens.

Following the announcement in late July that Renault would withdraw its backing of FR3.5 in 2016, teams are set to have a meeting with championship organisers on Friday evening.

AUTOSPORT understands that there will be a announcement about the shape of the 2016 series over the Silverstone weekend.

MORNING TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Pietro Fantin International Draco Racing 1m43.056s - 13
2 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1m43.544s 0.488s 17
3 Nyck de Vries DAMS 1m43.657s 0.601s 14
4 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 1m43.740s 0.684s 11
5 Dean Stoneman DAMS 1m43.961s 0.905s 15
6 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1m44.026s 0.970s 11
7 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1m44.028s 0.972s 14
8 Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 1m44.141s 1.085s 12
9 Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 1m44.550s 1.494s 13
10 Beitske Visser AVF 1m44.627s 1.571s 12
11 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m44.762s 1.706s 12
12 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m44.793s 1.737s 11
13 Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 1m44.809s 1.753s 10
14 Alfonso Celis AVF 1m45.218s 2.162s 8
15 Bruno Bonifacio International Draco Racing 1m45.511s 2.455s 12
16 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 1m45.632s 2.576s 13
17 Philo Paz Armand Pons Racing 1m46.705s 3.649s 12
18 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 1m50.575s 7.519s 5
19 Will Bratt Pons Racing 1m51.632s 8.576s 10
20 Nick Yelloly Lotus - - 5

AFTERNOON TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Tio Ellinas Strakka Racing 1m41.494s - 18
2 Dean Stoneman DAMS 1m41.652s 0.158s 20
3 Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1m41.671s 0.177s 19
4 Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1m41.894s 0.400s 14
5 Nyck de Vries DAMS 1m41.917s 0.423s 20
6 Gustav Malja Strakka Racing 1m41.960s 0.466s 18
7 Pietro Fantin International Draco Racing 1m42.019s 0.525s 20
8 Tom Dillmann Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m42.075s 0.581s 19
9 Sean Gelael Jagonya Ayam with Carlin 1m42.176s 0.682s 18
10 Egor Orudzhev Arden Motorsport 1m42.179s 0.685s 19
11 Jazeman Jaafar Fortec Motorsports 1m42.245s 0.751s 20
12 Nicholas Latifi Arden Motorsport 1m42.282s 0.788s 13
13 Nick Yelloly Lotus 1m42.690s 1.196s 17
14 Aurelien Panis Tech 1 Racing 1m42.845s 1.351s 18
15 Beitske Visser AVF 1m42.907s 1.413s 15
16 Roy Nissany Tech 1 Racing 1m42.914s 1.420s 18
17 Bruno Bonifacio International Draco Racing 1m43.210s 1.716s 20
18 Alfonso Celis AVF 1m43.537s 2.043s 13
19 Philo Paz Armand Pons Racing 1m44.893s 3.399s 18
20 Will Bratt Pons Racing 1m45.059s 3.565s 17


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Nick Yelloly to make Formula Renault 3.5 return at Silverstone

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