Photo: Renault Sport/DPPI
Spa race winner Oliver Rowland was the man to beat in Friday’s running ahead of the third weekend of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at Moscow Raceway, edging out championship leader Pierre Gasly to top both of the day’s sessions.
In the first session, Rowland posted his best time of 1m32.817s on his final attempt five minutes before the chequered flag, putting him 0.17 seconds clear of Gasly.
Lotus F1 junior Oscar Tunjo was third quickest ahead of Mikko Pakari and Nyck de Vries. Matthieu Vaxiviere took sixth spot in front of Guilherme Silva,local ace Egor Orudzhev?and Bruno Bonifacio. There was another Russian driver in tenth,with Konstantin Tereschenko going well to finish up seven tenths behind Rowland.
“It?s always a joy to drive on your home circuit,” he said. “We had a promising morning, and we continued to work hard this afternoon. I hope to have a solid weekend, and we?ll do everything we can to make sure I do.”
Rowland and Gasly again battled for the top spot in the closing stages of the afternoon session, the Manor MP driver bringing his time down to a 1m32.594s and finishing just five thousandths of a second clear of his Tech 1 rival.
“With the updated car, this circuit is even more enjoyable,” said Rowland. “I didn?t manage to complete a clear lap. The fact that I recorded my fastest time on the very last lap is proof of that. We?re sure to see much quicker times tomorrow, whether it?s us or our rivals that set them.”
Gasly said “The performance was there in both sessions. We still need to fine-tune a few details to get ahead of Oliver. If we want to claim pole position tomorrow, we mustn?t make a single mistake. Judging by the gaps separating us today, the key will be to get a clean lap. I?ll try my best to make it happen.”
After only managing 14th in the morning session, Rowland’sRacing Steps Foundation colleague Jake Dennis was third this time, just 0.022s from Rowland with Tunjo also close behind in fourth.
De Vries and Pakari continued their strong start to the weekend in fifth and sixth, with the top ten completed by Esteban Ocon, Bonifacio, William Vermont and Victor Franzoni.
It was an extremely close session throughout the field, with less than a second separating pace-setter Rowland and Vaxiviere down in 30th place of the 35-car field.