Downton FV Team and DS Automobiles Team Mathershaw - who each have an engine group that combine to build and tune the engines run by both teams in the Formula Virtual series - have this evening announced that despite previous reports, DS Downton will power Lopez FV Team in the 2017 Formula Virtual season.
Adrien Simon will head the field for the start of tomorrows title deciding Brazilian V-Prix, but team mate and championship leader by five points - Olen Inman - will start alongside him on the front row.
Enrique Ruiz set the pace in practice ahead of his home race but so much rain fell during the session it was difficult to distinguish at times what was track and what was lake. Ruiz's 1:55.573 was a whopping 43-seconds slower than last years pole position time, set by his team mate Elroy Wagner.
Ingram today ended the rumours linking various drivers, most notably Rodolfo de la Fuente, to their second seat by announcing Jean Mattson will remain with the team.
Today, Meteor have announced that, alongside the previously announced Stuart Harrison, Johan Halvosen will remain as Meteor’s race driver throughout the 2017 following the take-up of the option on the Dane’s contract.
The team also confirmed that Jamie Gerrard, who has been on loan to FIRST this season, will return to Meteor full time as the team’s test and reserve driver for the coming season.
Due to the delay in the Brazilian V-Prix, Lopez have taken the opportunity to confirm Jochem van Snelheid and Abel Osterhagen will end their driving duties for Lopez at season's end..
Van Snelheid will be taking his seat over to IndyVirtual next season, while Osterhagen is still believed to be working behind the scenes with the team in the forseeable future.
No comment has been made yet from Dylan Lopez, but it is expected he'll speak up at Friday's Press Conference.
Elroy Wagner clinched pole position for this weekend's Portuguese V-Prix in sodden conditions by the tightest of margins, beating Ingram's Nikolai Milkovich by only five hundredths of a second.
Remarkably, given the team's dominance in previous years, this is the first Franklin pole position of the season. Jean Mattson made it an Ingram 2-3 and a Honda-powered lockout of the top three. Next best were the Firestone runners of James Harding for Lopez and Nikolajis Christodoulou, who pulled out an incredible lap to take fifth. Both Meteors will line up on the grid line astern in 6th and 7th, while Puccio Giodano gave Ocelot something to smile about with the eighth fastest time.
Meanwhile, for the title contenders it was a very tough session. Olen Inman only managed ninth fastest, while Adrien Simon languished all the way back in 16th position as the wet weather pace of the DS was called into question, not for the first time this season. Aron Einarsson surprised many by setting the fastest time out of the new teams and taking 19th, only five hundredths behind the defending champion, Enrique Ruiz who had a shocker. Other strugglers were Marcus Thunder and Karl Beckenbauer, who will begin behind both North Stars and both FIRSTs.
The Portuguese V-Prix will take place tomorrow, with a scheduled race distance of 70 laps.