Cypriot Tio Ellinas emerged as the quickest driver of Formula Renault 3.5’s opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez.
Ellinas, who has signed with Strakka after spending all of 2014 without a full-time seat, narrowly beat Oliver Rowland by 0.004s in the final minutes of the running.
The duo were the only two drivers to go above the morning benchmark set by Pons Racing’s Roberto Merhi.
It was another chaotic session among the 22-car field, with five red flags adding up to the morning session’s eight. One of them was brought out by Rowland himself, who smashed into the wall in the closing stages right after setting his benchmark.
The Briton’s teammate Jazeman Jaafar was three tenths down in third, leading the grid’s only female racer Beitske Visser. Draco’s Pietro Fantin was the final driver to dip below 1:28s in the afternoon.
Lotus signing Meindert van Buuren finished sixth, with Merhi in seventh. Nicholas Latifi edged Gustav Malja in eighth, with reigning Eurocup champion Nyck de Vries in tenth.
De Vries’ DAMS teammate Dean Stoneman avoided injury after a massive crash into the barriers, but saw his day end early.
|1||Tio Ellinas||Strakka Racing||1:27.430||18|
|2||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||1:27.434||0.004||23|
|3||Jazeman Jaafar||Fortec Motorsports||1:27.732||0.302||31|
|5||Pietro Fantin||International Draco Racing||1:27.966||0.536||19|
|6||Meindert van Buuren||Lotus||1:28.074||0.644||24|
|7||Roberto Merhi||Pons Racing||1:28.257||0.827||14|
|8||Nicholas Latifi||Arden Motorsport||1:28.328||0.898||18|
|9||Gustav Malja||Strakka Racing||1:28.338||0.908||30|
|10||Nyck de Vries||DAMS||1:28.460||1.030||28|
|11||Tom Dillmann||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:28.504||1.074||23|
|12||Patric Armand||Pons Racing||1:28.515||1.085||24|
|15||Facu Regalia||Zeta Corse||1:28.844||1.414||19|
|16||Sean Gelael||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:28.965||1.535||24|
|17||Bruno Bonifacio||International Draco Racing||1:29.320||1.890||24|
|18||Egor Orudzhev||Arden Motorsport||1:29.528||2.098||17|
|19||Aurelien Panis||Tech 1 Racing||1:29.717||2.287||27|
|20||Roy Nissany||Tech 1 Racing||1:30.229||2.799||33|
|22||Johnny Cecotto||Zeta Corse||1:31.169||3.739||8|