Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Prema’s Wharton fastest in first pre-season FREC test at Barcelona

Prema’s Wharton fastest in first pre-season FREC test at Barcelona

by Ida Wood

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency

Prema’s James Wharton was fastest in Formula Regional European Championship’s first pre-season test at Barcelona.

Ugo Ugochukwu started testing on top, setting a 1m36.551s in Tuesday’s first session to lead team-mate Wharton by 0.065 seconds. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Ivan Domingues was 0.449s behind in third, with G4 Racing’s Romain Andriolo a further 0.028s back in fourth.

Only three others got within a second of the pace, but the top 25 was covered by 1.879s. G4’s Kanato Le and KIC Motorsport’s Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi were absent.

Domingues lowered the pace to 1m36.343s in session two, leading Sainteloc Racing’s Matteo de Palo by 0.242s, R-ace GP’s Tuukka Taponen by 0.302s and Sainteloc’s Theophile Nael by 0.423s. A second covered the top 14, with Le and Bhirombhakdi absent again along with ART Grand Prix’s Yaroslav Veselaho.

Prema’s quartet, MP Motorsport’s Valerio Rinicella and ART GP duo Evan Giltaire and Lena Buhler were the only drivers who did not improve.

Ugochukwu, Wharton and Domingues were on top again in session three, with a gap of 0.09s between the top two and 0.172s to third. But Ugochukwu was slower than before, setting a 1m37.080s. The top eight were spread on pace by 0.91s, with a further second down to 20th place.

Veselaho skipped another session, and the only driver to improve was Race Performance Motorsport’s Edgar Pierre.

VAR’s Pedro Clerot set a new 1m36.281s benchmark in session four, with team-mates Brando Badoer and Domingues 0.112s and 0.186s behind respectively. Five other drivers were within 0.5s of the pace, with 0.992s covering the top 17.

There were 17 improvers, G4’s Jesse Carrasquedo Jr was absent and Bhirombhakdi left the pits but returned to them without recording a laptime.

Wednesday was significantly faster, and Wharton lowered the pace to 1m35.614s in the day’s opening session. He was quickest by 0.066s over Badoer, with R-P-M’s Noah Stromsted 0.248s and R-ace’s Enzo Deligny 0.274s behind in second and third.

Clerot just failed to break the 1m36s barrier in fourth, and was only 0.065s ahead of seventh place. There were tight gaps further down the timesheet too, with the top 18 split by 0.995s, the top 24 all lapping sub-1m37s and 1.98s covering the top 29. De Palo and Trident’s Roman Bilinski and Ruiqi Liu were the only non-improvers.

In contrast, KIC’s Costa Toparis was the only driver to find more pace in session six as Stromsted led the way with a 1m36.291s. He had a gap of 0.399s to ART GP’s Alessandro Giusti, with Wharton and Ugochukwu 0.466s and 0.491s behind in third and fourth and with 1.87s covering the top 18.

Nael set a 1m37.583s to top session seven by 0.255s over Badoer. Bhirombhakdi was third, 0.488s behind, and Topari was fourth.

Badoer set a 1m36.713s early in session eight which kept him on top to the end by 0.094s over Nael. Taponen, Deligny and team-mate Zachary David filled the next positions and were within 0.3s of Badoer. The top 10 were covered by 0.891s, with just 21 drivers recording laptimes although only MP’s Nikita Bedrin, Nikhil Bohra and Rinicella failed to leave the pits. Veselaho was the sole driver to improve.

Giltaire stopped on track with a few minutes to go, prompting everyone to head to the pits.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 James Wharton Prema 1m35.614s 136
2 Brando Badoer VAR 1m35.680s +0.066s 145
3 Noah Stromsted R-P-M 1m35.862s +0.248s 147
4 Enzo Deligny R-ace GP 1m35.888s +0.274s 132
5 Pedro Clerot VAR 1m36.000s +0.386s 149
6 Nikita Bedrin MP Motorsport 1m36.029s +0.415s 122
7 Alessandro Giusti ART Grand Prix 1m36.065s +0.451s 139
8 Valerio Rinicella MP Motorsport 1m36.150s +0.536s 128
9 Theophile Nael Sainteloc Racing 1m36.159s +0.545s 105
10 Evan Giltaire ART Grand Prix 1m36.166s +0.552s 134
11 Ivan Domingues VAR 1m36.208s +0.594s 150
12 Tuukka Taponen R-ace GP 1m36.217s +0.603s 131
13 Ugo Ugochukwu Prema 1m36.226s +0.612s 136
14 Zachary David R-ace GP 1m36.302s +0.688s 133
15 Rafael Camara Prema 1m36.444s +0.830s 130
16 Jesse Carrasquedo Jr G4 Racing 1m36.523s +0.918s 105
17 Kanato Le G4 Racing 1m36.560s +0.946s 86
18 Matteo de Palo Sainteloc Racing 1m36.585s +0.971s 117
19 Romain Andriolo G4 Racing 1m36.609s +0.995s 115
20 Marta Garcia Prema 1m36.619s +1.005s 138
21 Nikhil Bohra MP Motorsport 1m36.713s +1.099s 121
22 Niko Lacorte Trident 1m36.724s +1.110s 113
23 Giovanni Maschio R-P-M 1m36.876s +1.262s 124
24 Enzo Peugeot Sainteloc Racing 1m36.894s +1.280s 107
25 Costa Toparis KIC Motorsport 1m37.003s +1.389s 135
26 Roman Bilinski Trident 1m37.022s +1.408s 119
27 Edgar Pierre R-P-M 1m37.249s +1.635s 150
28 Ruiqi Liu Trident 1m37.382s +1.768s 104
29 Nandhavud Bhirombhakdi KIC Motorsport 1m37.396s +1.782s 76
30 Lena Buhler ART Grand Prix 1m37.594s +1.980s 127
31 Yaroslav Veselaho ART Grand Prix 1m38.407s +2.793s 76