JD Motorsport’s Lorenzo Colombo made the perfect start to his ‘home’ Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) meeting at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, lighting up the time sheets in opening practice.
A quickest time of 1:49.707 seconds on his penultimate tour of the 3.6 mile amphitheatre of speed proved enough, pushing Renault Sport Academy racer Victor Martins (R-ace GP) into second by a mere two tenths of a second.
Thibaut de Merindol’s outfit further underlined their competitiveness with Charles Milesi – the early pace-setter in the session – ending up third, and Logan Sargeant just behind.
Frank Bird (Tech1 Racing) rounded out the top five, with compatriot Max Fewtrell – who took to the circuit last – behind in sixth.
The sister Tech1 machine of Thomas Neubauer came next, marginally faster than Gabriel Gandulia, the Argentine benefiting from a string of recent tests – including Monza – to close the gap to his more experienced rivals ahead.
Doureid Ghattas led the way for Anders Motorsport in ninth, with Sharon Scolari’s increased track time in the ScoRace Team machine also paying dividends with her best session result so far in tenth.
Newcomer Zichao Wang was next for Cram Motorsport, with the second Anders-run car of Phil Hill rounding out the field after persistent mechanical problems hampered his track time.
The second session gets underway at 15:35 CEST, with live timing available at: http://livetiming2.monza.alkamelsystems.com
Lorenzo Colombo said, “The session here started pretty well because I started with new tyres and felt very confident with myself and the car,
“I’m not a rookie at this track, it’s my fourth time racing here. We put some more new tyres on later and tried to find some space, there was a lot of traffic to begin with. When I found that, I managed to set the quickest time.
“I’m just taking this race weekend as a test and for motivation after a bad weekend in Monaco through no fault of my own.
“I chose to do this because we also have a long break before the next Eurocup round at Red Bull Ring.
“This NEC event is good to grow my confidence with the car, especially as a rookie, and in that position I should be driving as much as possible to learn and prepare for the other races.
“Doing this circuit was particularly important for me because I can practice in a track I know from Formula 4 and I can revisit points of improvement from Eurocup weekends and improve my consistency.”