Noel León has praised the efforts of his Van Amersfoort Racing team after the rookie driver set the fastest time on the opening day of running at the pre-season test in Sakhir.

The Mexican made a slow start to the day’s proceedings after not setting a time and completing just one lap in a rain-affected morning session. But he followed that up with an impressive effort in the afternoon segment, completing 19 tours of the track.

READ MORE: Rookie León fastest on opening day of pre-season testing in Sakhir

León then left it late in the day to set a time of 1:46.657, vaulting him straight to the top of the timesheets. None of his rivals that followed him across the line could quite overhaul his effort, with Campos Racing’s Oliver Goethe going closest, finishing just 0.015s off his pace.

Reflecting on his performance, León said: “Really happy with the lap. We did an amazing job. Thanks to the team for the car, obviously it is a lot of work to do, we still have two more days but always happy to be on top.”

León drove for Van Amersfoort at all three post-season tests last year in Jerez, Barcelona, and Imola. However, he admits that these three days in Bahrain are of great importance given that he has not driven the track before, and it hosts the first round of the season in a few weeks.

Leon set the fastest time in the opening day of pre-season testing in Sakhir
Leon set the fastest time in the opening day of pre-season testing in Sakhir

“To be honest it was the first time in the car since last year, so I was really excited to be back,” admitted León. “It feels great but obviously we are going to work a little bit more to be competitive on the other days. Obviously, I've never driven in Bahrain, so I am learning the track.

“But just super happy to be able to put P1 on the board today. We still need to learn a little bit more and get used to the track, and to get used to the car once again. But obviously it’s a really good day and let’s hope tomorrow we will be in the same place.”

READ MORE: Experience, pace, and familiarity but will Van Amersfoort Racing climb the Championship ladder?

Given the wet weather in the morning, León revealed that VAR changed their run plan and opted to stay in the garage in order to save some tyres. He is hopeful that tomorrow will give them a chance to show more despite the showers expected to hit the track overnight.

“We just need to keep working so we can be that quick again,” added León. “Obviously it’s really strange here in Bahrain because of all the rain. So, let’s see how it is going to be tomorrow morning because it seems it could be wet overnight. But obviously we want to be on top every day.”