As the first collective test of the F.Renault 3.5 season drew to a close today in Alcañiz, Pons Racing kept progressing with both Tom Dillman and Meindert Van Buuren despite having to cope with two sessions that were heavily disrupted by changeable weather. Rain started falling on the Motorland Aragon venue around 11 AM, and at that time neither of the two drivers had still tried a run on new rubber as the team’s work schedule was focused on other tasks. Apart from preventing them from running on fresh tyres, rain also hampered the team’s other plans, as the morning session was virtually cut short by 90 minutes due to that unexpected shower. Trying to make the most of every situation as usual, in the afternoon the team took advantage of the damp track to test a few different setup solutions for wet conditions, collecting useful data. Long runs, anyway, were just not possible because the session was red-flagged an astounding seven times. Still Dillmann managed to impress topping the sheets in both wet and moist conditions. Then in the last hour, when the track dried up, he was quick too and closed the session just shy of the top ten. On the team’s other car, Dutchman Meindert Van Buuren had another positive day behind the wheel, focusing as planned on putting as much mileage as possible under his belt. In that respect, having the opportunity to lap on a wet track was a welcome surprise, as it gave Meindert the chance to learn more of the car’s reaction in treacherous track conditions.
Tom Dillmann : “The weather didn’t really help us today because both sessions were half wet/half dry, conditions that don’t really give you the time to work as you’d like to. Anyway we coped with that pretty well, and in wet or and damp conditions the car was really quick, allowing me to top the timesheet easily. We still have some work to do to get where we’d like to be with the dry setup, but in these days we definitely moved in the right direction”.
Meindert Van Buuren: “Looking at these three days as a whole, I’m quite happy of what I did. I was here to learn, learn the car, learn the track, learn the tyres. At the end of the test I’d say that in that respect I was successful, especially if you consider how my gap from the frontrunners shrank. On my ideal lap I’m just one second off the pace, and that’s quite good if you bear in mind that I had just 5 days in the car so far. There’s definitely more to come, I hope I’ll be in Jerez to prove that”.
Emilio de Villota (Team Manager): “The first official event of the season is always an important moment, as all the work you did in the winter starts coming together. I’m pretty satisfied with what we achieved in this three-day test, but I also know that we still have a lot of work to do. The car driven by Move and Dillmann was slower than the sister car on the straights, and we are investigating that with Zytek and Renault as you can’t afford to lose three tenths for such an issue in a competitive series as F.Renault 3.5. Apart from that, our Sector 2 times show that in terms of setup our car was pretty competitive, and that the changes we did over the winter in our technical staff were steps in the good direction. Things will get even better with some more time together, so I’m confident in that respect too. Both drivers did a really good job, and Meindert deserves to be praised for coming here with the right attitude. He understood that learning was the main objective of this test, and he followed our instructions all the time, improving on each day”.