Pons Racing’s new recruit Roberto Merhi set the fastest time in the opening session of the Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season test at Jerez.
Merhi, who finished third in the series last year and won three races, took over at the top with more than two hours to go and went unmatched until the checkered flag.
His best lap was four tenths clear of nearest rival Tio Ellinas, who was the only other driver to clock in a time below the 1:28s mark.
DAMS signing Dean Stoneman took third on his return to 3.5 testing.
The first official session of Formula Renault’s 2015 season kicked off in suitably hectic fashion, with a whopping eight red flag periods interrupting the running.
Pietro Fantin was among those who caused the stoppages, but ended up fourth despite hitting the wall.
Fortec’s Jazeman Jaafar was fifth ahead of Arden duo Nicholas Latifi and Egor Orudzhev and his own squadmate Oliver Rowland.
Gustav Malja of Strakka and Johnny Cecotto of Zeta rounded out the top ten.
|1||Roberto Merhi||Pons Racing||1:27.579||17|
|2||Tio Ellinas||Strakka Racing||1:27.994||0.415||26|
|4||Pietro Fantin||International Draco Racing||1:28.165||0.586||21|
|5||Jazeman Jaafar||Fortec Motorsports||1:28.205||0.626||17|
|6||Nicholas Latifi||Arden Motorsport||1:28.250||0.671||32|
|7||Egor Orudzhev||Arden Motorsport||1:28.470||0.891||36|
|8||Oliver Rowland||Fortec Motorsports||1:28.473||0.894||12|
|9||Gustav Malja||Strakka Racing||1:28.870||1.291||13|
|10||Johnny Cecotto||Zeta Corse||1:29.112||1.533||30|
|12||Meindert van Buuren||Lotus||1:29.457||1.878||8|
|13||Bruno Bonifacio||International Draco Racing||1:29.496||1.917||24|
|14||Patric Armand||Pons Racing||1:29.614||2.035||28|
|15||Aurelien Panis||Tech 1 Racing||1:29.660||2.081||36|
|16||Nyck de Vries||DAMS||1:29.788||2.209||13|
|17||Tom Dillmann||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:30.174||2.595||13|
|19||Facu Regalia||Zeta Corse||1:30.620||3.041||31|
|20||Sean Gelael||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||1:30.924||3.345||24|
|22||Roy Nissany||Tech 1 Racing||1:33.950||6.371||8|