Sébastien Chardonnet, of La Gaude , France and Juho Annala of Lapua , Finland were taking part in their second test with the third-year Atlantic team. Both youngsters previously tested with Conquest at MSR Houston a little less than a month ago. While helping the team prepare for their upcoming season, the pair also continued their development and evaluation behind the wheel of the Swift 016.a chassis powered by Mazda at Sebring International Raceway. Annala and Chardonnet logged many miles and soaked in the experience during this two-day test.
“I think the two days went well," said Chardonnet, who ended up tenth quickest overall of the 24 car field. “Today was better than yesterday though. I’m getting more use to driving one of these cars. They are different to what I drove in the past so that’s mostly what I was focusing on at this test. The red flag at the end was unfortunate because I was going out on new tires and I’m sure I could have improved my time, but overall I’m happy with what I have accomplished."
In the last few years, Chardonnet participated in the French Formula Renault Series and in many karting events from 2002 to 2004. As for Annala, he competed in the International Formula Masters Series, the British F3 National Class and Formula Ford.
“Overall the test was very good. I enjoyed driving with this team, I think they are very professional," expressed Annala. “There are still a lot of things for me to learn in the car to improve my driving and get the car to my liking but I’m happy with the test because we made big improvements as we went along. The only thing I’m not happy about is the red flag at the end of our last session. I didn’t get a chance to go out on the new tires, so the best is still hidden somewhere!"
Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing team owner commented on the test: “We really enjoy working with young drivers and helping them move forward in their racing career. It was a pleasure to work again with Juho and Sébastien. They took in a lot the last couple of days and performed well. Both drivers felt more and more comfortable with the car as the sessions went by and they also provided us with good feedback. The test was very productive as we were able to accomplish what we had planned in order to continue our preparation for the start of the season in April as well as help them further their development in an Atlantic car."
The Conquest Racing Atlantic team now head back to Indianapolis to prepare for the second Atlantic open test of the year which takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in March 10 and 11.