Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello dominates Formula Renault 3.5 test

Just as he did on Wednesday and Thursday, Raffaele Marciello (Arden Caterham) snatched the fastest time in Friday’s two sessions of Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing at Motorland Aragon. The Italian’s best lap of 1:39.815 gave him the day’s honors, with Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) just a thousandth of a second behind him, followed by Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports).

The season’s final day of collective testing brought with it plenty of personnel changes. After spending two days with Strakka Racing, Raffaele Marciello linked up with Arden Caterham, while Will Buller switched from AV Formula to Tech 1 Racing, where he sat in for Jordan Oon, who jumped over to Zeta Corse. Jazeman Jaafar made the move from ISR to Lotus to replace Kimiya Sato, who teamed up with Pons Racing. Sergey Sirotkin was back behind the wheel for ISR, while Norman Nato was reunited with DAMS and Will Stevens with Strakka Racing. Last but not least, Meindert van Buuren took over from Luca Ghiotto at International Draco Racing.

The drivers wasted little time in taking to the track in the morning, with several names appearing atop the timesheets in the opening hour before Raffaele Marciello set the pace once more. With 45 minutes remaining before the checkered flag, the Italian relinquished top spot to Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), who by this time was on new tires. Filipino racer Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) then went fastest half an hour later and would stay out front for the rest of a session cut short by an off-track excursion for Nikolay Martsenko (AV Formula). Completing the top five behind the Lotus F1 Junior Team driver were Oliver Rowland, Will Stevens, Raffaele Marciello and Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing).

It was a full 40 minutes before the cars emerged in the afternoon. Dean Stoneman (Carlin) registered the first meaningful time before being eclipsed by Raffaele Marciello, Will Stevens, Carlos Sainz Jr (DAMS) and then Nick Yelloly (Carlin). There were only a few minutes left on the clock when Carlos Sainz Jr became the first driver to dip under 1:40. On his final run, however, Marciello picked up the pace to clock 1:39.815, the day’s quickest time. Sainz, Sirotkin, Stevens and Stockinger were next fastest behind the Italian, with 16 drivers finishing within a second of each other.

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series will make its return on 25 February next year, when it will head back to Motorland Aragon for three days of collective testing.

What they said:

Marco Sorensen: “It’s good to be back on the track. This session will definitely come in handy in preparing for next season. It feels very strange to be working with a different outfit. I get the feeling that we’re heading in the right direction. Nothing’s been decided for 2014 and I’ll need to keep on working. I’ll be making a decision later on."

Oliver Rowland: “Everything went perfectly. I think we could have come away with the best time if we’d managed to bolt the new tires on at the end of the morning. We’ve made a lot of progress in these tests, and I’ve learned so much with every lap. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in 2014."

Carlos Sainz Jr: “I’m very happy with how testing went. The main objective was just to focus on our job and we managed to get into the groove right from the start. It all looks promising and I’m very pleased."

Morning times

Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m39.816s +0.000s 54
2 Oliver Rowland Fortec 1m39.881s +0.065s 30
3 Will Stevens Strakka 1m39.938s +0.122s 55
4 Raffaele Marciello Arden 1m40.012s +0.196s 40
5 Pietro Fantin Draco 1m40.161s +0.345s 45
6 Zoel Amberg Arden 1m40.173s +0.357s 41
7 Sergey Sirotkin ISR 1m40.235s +0.419s 40
8 Nikolay Martsenko AV Formula 1m40.249s +0.433s 45
9 Nick Yelloly Carlin 1m40.377s +0.561s 46
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. DAMS 1m40.433s +0.617s 29
11 Dean Stoneman Carlin 1m40.467s +0.651s 35
12 Nico Muller Comtec 1m40.549s +0.733s 42
13 Norman Nato DAMS 1m40.606s +0.790s 38
14 Jazeman Jaafar Lotus 1m40.620s +0.804s 25
15 Matias Laine Strakka 1m40.697s +0.881s 44
16 Marco Sorensen Tech 1 1m40.789s +0.973s 39
17 Roman Mavlanov Zeta Corse 1m40.821s +1.005s 37
18 Riccardo Agostini Pons 1m40.854s +1.038s 43
19 Andrea Pizzitola AV Formula 1m41.173s +1.357s 35
20 Kimiya Sato Pons 1m41.673s +1.857s 44
21 William Buller Tech 1 1m41.807s +1.991s 44
22 Meindert van Buuren Draco 1m42.759s +2.943s 36
23 Jordan Oon Zeta Corse 1m44.039s +4.223s 32

Afternoon times

Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1 Raffaele Marciello Arden 1m39.815s +0.000s 35
2 Carlos Sainz Jr. DAMS 1m39.890s +0.075s 36
3 Sergey Sirotkin ISR 1m39.940s +0.125s 38
4 Will Stevens Strakka 1m40.069s +0.254s 44
5 Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m40.182s +0.367s 38
6 Nick Yelloly Carlin 1m40.185s +0.370s 33
7 Oliver Rowland Fortec 1m40.220s +0.405s 42
8 Zoel Amberg Arden 1m40.311s +0.496s 35
9 Dean Stoneman Carlin 1m40.333s +0.518s 36
10 Pietro Fantin Draco 1m40.338s +0.523s 31
11 Jazeman Jaafar Lotus 1m40.354s +0.539s 46
12 Norman Nato DAMS 1m40.573s +0.758s 32
13 Matias Laine Strakka 1m40.638s +0.823s 28
14 Riccardo Agostini Pons 1m40.725s +0.910s 44
15 Nico Muller Comtec 1m40.787s +0.972s 30
16 Andrea Pizzitola AV Formula 1m40.813s +0.998s 19
17 Roman Mavlanov Zeta Corse 1m41.169s +1.354s 28
18 Marco Sorensen Tech 1 1m41.186s +1.371s 31
19 Kimiya Sato Pons 1m41.328s +1.513s 43
20 Meindert van Buuren Draco 1m41.366s +1.551s 31
21 William Buller Tech 1 1m41.396s +1.581s 47
22 Jordan Oon Zeta Corse 1m42.980s +3.165s 26
23 Nikolay Martsenko AV Formula No Time No Time 0

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