ISR Racer Jazeman Jaafar headed the opening day Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season test at Jerez yesterday.
Jaafar fastest on the first morning on day one, with Fortec’s Oliver Rowland in tow; however the latter would top a competitive afternoon session.
Jaafar noted that: “We made a pretty strong start to the day. I was happy with the set-up, so we very quickly shifted our focus to development of the car. Performance could still be improved, but I was fairly pleased.”
With one field of testing completed, focus changed later in the day. “In the afternoon, we tried something different, but it didn’t really suit my driving style. It was a bit tricky! I like the circuit. The high-speed corners and the abrasiveness of the surface make it a real challenge. You only have a fairly narrow window in which to set a fast time!”
Matias Laine (Strakka), Norman Nato and Carlos Sainz Jr (both DAMS) showed their pace early on, before Jaafar climbed to the top of the rankings. As the session aged, Will Stevens (Strakka) and Matthieu Vaxivière (Lotus) also showed their hands.
After lunch, GP3 veteran Tio Ellinas (Tech-1) was quick, as was German Formula 3 graduate Beitske Visser (AVF) amidst Jaafar, Sainz Jr and Rowland, with Englishman Rowland proving fastest as the day closed.
According to the Englishman, “Today was about getting to know the track. It’s a very technical track and is tough on the tyres. This morning, we didn’t really work on performance; we concentrated on starts and pit-stop practices. In the afternoon, I set the best time but I went off on my last lap. The potential is much greater than the times would suggest. We should be lapping somewhere around one minute twenty-five seconds tomorrow.”