Home Featured Fenestraz leads Ye and Preining at Formula Renault rookie test

Fenestraz leads Ye and Preining at Formula Renault rookie test

by Peter Allen

Photo: Sebastiaan Rozendaal/Dutch Photo Agency

Sacha Fenestraz?followed his win in Sunday’s?Eurocup Formula Renault season finale by topping the post-season test day at Estoril, as French Formula 4 champion?Yifei Ye headed the rookies.

Interestingly, it was the cars of season-long rivals?Lando Norris and?Max Defourny that lapped quickest, with Franco-Argentine Fenestraz moving from Tech 1 to drive Norris’ #2 Josef Kaufmann Racing car and Chinese driver Ye lining up in?R-ace GP’s #33 as one of 12 drivers that accepted invites from Renault Sport Racing to take part in the rookie test.

Fenestraz posted a time of 1m37.388s to lead the morning session and lowered his effort to a 1m36.602s in the afternoon.

“It is hard for me to believe that a year ago, I was one of the rookies invited by Renault Sport Racing,” said the 17-year-old.

“For my part, today I am discovering another way of working with a new team. I am trying to progress in qualifying, while adapting to the car and its set-ups in order to compare the data to what the team has.”

Ye – one of 12 drivers that accepted invites from Renault Sport for performances this season – led for a while in both sessions and ended the day?second fastest, 0.352 seconds behind Fenestraz.

“This was my first official day in a Formula Renault 2.0 of this generation and that?s not too bad,” said 16-year-old Ye. “I have the feeling that everything is perfect on this car!?

After a quiet season, JD Motorsport was a strong presence at the top of the times during the day, with its three drivers completing the top five in the afternoon.

Third was?Thomas Preining,?the leading invitee from ADAC F4 where he finished fourth this year, ahead of SMP protege?Alex Vartanyan, who joined JD after stepping up to FR2.0 for?the final rounds of 2016 with Fortec. Fresh from contesting the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch,?Job van Uitert was invited for being fourth in Italian F4 and finished the day in fifth.

Gilles Magnus – second overall and the top rookie in French F4 – had a good day in the other Kaufmann car, sixth in the afternoon after coming fifth in the morning behind Vartanyan, Alexey Korneev (who traded places with Vartanyan by moving from JD to Fortec) and Ye.

British F4 champion?Max Fewtrell?- who was already planning?to race in FR2.0 next season – took up an invite with Tech 1 Racing and was the final?driver within a second of Fenestraz in the afternoon in seventh. Fellow British F4 graduates?Rafa Martins (AVF),?Sennan Fielding (Fortec), James Pull (Tech 1) and?Alex Quinn?(Fortec)?were eighth, 10th, 11th and 17th respectively, the latter three as Renault invitees.

Raul Guzman, third in Italian F4, was an invitee?with AVF and was ninth in the morning.?Tristan Charpentier and?Javier Cobian joined Ye and Magnus in coming from French F4, testing for R-ace GP and AVF respectively. Karter?Leonardo Lorandi – brother of Alessio – was the final invitee?with TS Corse.

Three French karters were in action, with?Thomas Neubauer?(who has already contested an NEC round and two VdeV events) best-placed in 15th for Tech 1. Charles Milesi?(fourth in the WSK Champions Cup and second in the French championship in OK Junior) was 19th for R-ace GP, just ahead of?Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer?(French OK champion) with Tech 1.

Sun Yue Yang, signed to the Renault Sport Academy earlier this year, tested for Fortec and finished up 22nd out of 25 in the afternoon.

Combined times
Pos Driver Team Morning Afternoon
1 Sacha Fenestraz Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:37.388 1:36.602
2 Yifei Ye R-ace GP 1:38.804 1:36.954
3 Thomas Preining JD Motorsport 1:39.367 1:37.025
4 Alex Vartanyan JD Motorsport 1:38.132 1:37.178
5 Job van Uitert JD Motorsport 1:40.234 1:37.488
6 Gilles Magnus Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:38.971 1:37.528
7 Max Fewtrell Tech 1 Racing 1:40.235 1:37.561
8 Rafa Martins AVF 1:41.100 1:37.639
9 Alexey Korneev Fortec Motorsports 1:38.793 1:37.700
10 Sennan Fielding Fortec Motorsports 1:39.705 1:37.791
11 James Pull Tech 1 Racing 1:40.850 1:37.806
12 Ghislain Cordeel GMMA Formula Racing 1:39.141 1:37.932
13 Alex Peroni TS Corse 1:39.923 1:37.967
14 Tristan Charpentier R-ace GP 1:40.596 1:38.143
15 Thomas Neubauer Tech 1 Racing 1:40.371 1:38.153
16 Xavier Lloveras AVF 1:40.729 1:38.434
17 Alex Quinn Fortec Motorsports 1:41.086 1:38.441
18 Frankie Bird Fortec Motorsports 1:40.504 1:38.462
19 Charles Milesi R-ace GP 1:42.253 1:38.813
20 Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer Tech 1 Racing 1:41.373 1:38.886
21 Raul Guzman AVF 1:39.921 1:39.345
22 Sun Yue Yang Fortec Motorsports 1:45.799 1:39.637
23 Javier Cobian AVF 1:42.287 1:39.689
24 Leonardo Lorandi TS Corse 1:41.848 1:40.759
25 Amaury Cordeel GMMA Formula Racing 1:43.765 1:43.646