FRECA: In Barcelona Pedro Clerot clocks the best time on the first day of official testing

Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2024

FRECA: In Barcelona Pedro Clerot clocks the best time on the first day of official testing

The Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine has officially fired up its engines for the start of the 2024 season, which, as per tradition, kicks off at the Barcelona circuit, where today the first preseason collective test took place. The Circuit de Catalunya welcomed over 30 cars under a warm sun on the asphalt of a track that hosts a Formula 1 event.

 

Ugo Ugochukwu leads the pack

In the first morning session, it was the bearer of the Prema Racing team colors, Ugo Ugochukwu, who took control around mid-session, setting the best time of 1:36.551, just 65 milliseconds ahead of his teammate James Wharton. Behind the two Italian team drivers, the only ones to dip below the 1.37 mark, was Portuguese driver Ivan Domingues, achieving the third-best time at the wheel of a Van Amersfoort Racing single-seater. Romain Andriolo (G4 Racing) also performed well, preceding Valerio Rinicella (MP Motorsport) and the Dane Noah Strømsted (RPM), the only one among these to have taken part in the international championship last year. The top six positions featured five different teams, with the top 10 rounded out by Jesse Carrasquedo (G4 Racing), Theophile Naël (Sainteloc Racing), David Zachary (R-ace GP), and his teammate Tuukka Tapponen. Notably, Formula 1 Academy winner Marta Garcia (Prema Racing) shined with the twelfth fastest time just behind the third R-ace Gp car of Enzo Deligny, who had led the operations in the earlier part of the timed session. A single red flag was displayed early in the session following Nikita Bedrin’s (MP Motorsport) off-track excursion at turn seven.

Ivan Domingues is the morning’s fastest

In the second session, it was Domingues who set everyone trailing with the best time of 1:36.343. Close behind was Matteo De Palo, who posted a marginally higher time by a little over two-tenths. Following in quick succession were Tapponen (R-ace GP), Naël (Sainteloc Racing), and David (R-ace GP), claiming the top five spots. Alessandro Giusti also showed strong form, now racing for ART Grand Prix and representing the Williams Driver Academy, along with Andriolo (G4 Racing) and Roman Bilinski (Trident), who were sixth, seventh, and eighth as the session closed. The second session was marked by two red flags, the first during the initial phases following Enzo Peugeot’s (Sainteloc Racing) exit at turn 14, and the second 26 minutes from the end due to Evan Giltaire’s (ART Grand Prix) off-track at the same corner.   

 

Ugochukwu continues to lead

After the lunch break, Ugochukwu returned to lead in the third timed session, ahead of teammate Wharton. Domingues (VAR) again excelled, coming in third before his teammate Pedro Clerot. Naël continued to demonstrate his comfort on the Spanish track’s twists, preceding the Brazilian Rafael Camara (Prema Racing) and Brando Badoer (Van Amersfoort Racing). This session was interrupted twice due to off-track excursions involving Lena Bühler (ART Grand Prix) and Bhirombhakdi Nandhavud (KIC Motorsport).

Clerot sets the record for the day

In the final session, Clerot marked the best time of the day with an impressive 1:36.281. In the early stages of the last afternoon session, where drivers could also use the push to pass, Prema Racing’s Camara and Wharton showed good pace, but were later surpassed by the Van Amersfoort Racing representatives, Badoer and Domingues, who finished the session in second and third. The top 5 was completed by Naël and Strømsted, who clocked the fourth and sixth-best times of the day, respectively.

The last session was also interrupted by a red flag with five minutes remaining due to Nandhavud’s exit at turn 6.

 

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