Albert Costa completed a perfect start to the final round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Barcelona by repeating his morning performance to go fastest in this afternoon's second collective test.
The Spaniard and his Epic Racing team utilised the advantage of an extra set of tires for their home round to the full to set a fastest lap of 1m34.421s. Pons Racing's Nick Yelloly continued his impressive adaptation to the category by ending the afternoon second fastest, just 0.153sec shy of Costa.
GP3 regular Yelloly confessed to feeling more comfortable on the LAC (low aerodynamic configuration), used in Friday afternoon's collective tests and mandatory during all Saturday races, than with a higher-downforce setup.
"We were fast this morning," said Yelloly "but when I put the fresher set of tires on I didn't get it together. It's a shame we were only ninth. I shouldn't be disappointed but I am. This afternoon we were running on old tires, so we did quite a bit of running and made a lot of changes just to see how the car would react. On new tires I was competitive straight away, and did my best lap on lap two."
Yelloly's teammate Oliver Webb also showed well before being slowed by a hydraulic problem that disrupted his gearbox's downchanges. The Briton ended the afternoon in ninth.
Having run on old tires this morning, championship leader Robert Wickens benefited from a new tire run to claim third place this afternoon. Teammate and championship adversary Jean-Eric Vergne opted to mount new tires earlier in the session. The 2010 British Formula 3 champion moved to the top of the times with just under 25 minutes of the 1h15m session remaining, before slipping to 11th.
Among several surprise packages of the afternoon were KMP Racing's Anton Nebylitskiy in fourth, P1 Motorsport's Walter Grubmuller in fifth, and 2009 Italian Formula 3 champion Daniel Zampieri, who completed the top six for BVM Target.
Zampieri and Nebylitskiy enjoyed periods at the head of the timing screens, as did early pacesetter Brendon Hartley (Gravity-Charouz). The Kiwi was usurped from top spot by Costa with three-quarters of an hour remaining, and finished the afternoon in an eventual seventh place.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Albert Costa Epic 1m34.268s
2. Nick Yelloly Pons 1m34.421s + 0.153s
3. Robert Wickens Carlin 1m34.462s + 0.194s
4. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m34.502s + 0.234s
5. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m34.678s + 0.410s
6. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 1m34.804s + 0.536s
7. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1m34.899s + 0.631s
8. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 1m34.996s + 0.728s
9. Oliver Webb Pons 1m35.000s + 0.732s
10. Daniil Move P1 1m35.096s + 0.828s
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 1m35.097s + 0.829s
12. Nelson Panciatici KMP 1m35.185s + 0.917s
13. Nathanael Berthon ISR 1m35.283s + 1.015s
14. Alexander Rossi Fortec 1m35.342s + 1.074s
15. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m35.347s + 1.079s
16. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m35.472s + 1.204s
17. Arthur Pic Tech 1 1m35.473s + 1.205s
18. Sten Pentus Epic 1m35.490s + 1.222s
19. Adrien Tambay Draco 1m35.609s + 1.341s
20. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 1m35.813s + 1.545s
21. Cesar Ramos Fortec 1m35.819s + 1.551s
22. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 1m36.101s + 1.833s
23. Fairuz Fauzy Mofaz 1m36.356s + 2.088s
24. Daniel de Jong Comtec 1m36.469s + 2.201s
25. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1m37.209s + 2.941s