Kiwi Richie Stanaway has emerged fastest from the opening day of Formula Renault 3.5’s annual invite-only test at Aragon, Spain.
The 2011 German Formula 3 Champion set the quickest times in both the morning and afternoon sessions, driving for the Gravity-Charouz Racing team.
The field of 24 drivers is made up of the top runners from the globe’s various Formula 3 and Formula Renault 2.0 classes, in addition to 2011 GP3 Champion Valtteri Bottas.
The day started in damp conditions, with Stanaway lapping the track in a best time of 1m43.594s as the track gradually dried.
In the dry afternoon session, he then improved by 0.4s to be over a tenth of a second faster than Formula Renault Eurocup driver Danil Kvyat (P1 Motorsport).
Daniel Zampieri (BVM Target), Robin Frijns (Comtec), Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin) Marco Sorenson (Gravity-Charouz), Will Stevens (Tech 1) and Carlos Huertas (Fortec), Nico Muller (Comtec) and Yuhi Sekiguchi (BVM Target) rounded out the top 10.
British Formula 3 runner-up Kevin Magnussen, who will race for Carlin in the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series, elected to skip the test after suffering minor head injuries in a frightening crash at the recent Macau Grand Prix.
Stanaway is in for a busy week, with a two-day GP3 test with Maruissia Manor Racing in Jerez set to follow immediately after the completion of the three-day Formula Renault 3.5 outing.
Stanaway, who turned 20-years-old last week, is managed by Gravity Sports Management, which runs Lotus Renault GP’s extensive young driver program.
The former Australian Formula Ford Championship competitor shot to prominence on the European racing seen at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix, where he won on debut in the highly-competitive GP3 class.