Dennis Hauger made as strong a start as he could have hoped for in Sakhir, ending day one of the pre-season test as the fastest overall.

The MP Motorsport driver set a 1:53.175 to finish almost two tenths quicker than his closest challenger in the form of Rodin Motorsport’s Zane Maloney.

The opening day of testing was heavily impacted by unexpected downpours throughout the session, meaning mileage was not as extensive as teams had hoped prior to landing and setting up in Bahrain.

Still, as the Norwegian explains, any laps in the new car are valuable ahead of the campaign getting underway at the end of the month. Hauger was measured in his assessment of the day but admitted that it was a nice feeling to come back after the break and end day one of the season quickest.

“It’s nice to get a good start. It’s just day one so it’s not worth too much and you can’t take too much away from it but it’s good to be back in the car and get the season started. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, hopefully some dry running and dry stints where we can get properly started."

Having had the chance to sample the car both at the Barcelona shakedown and around the Bahrain International Circuit, the MP driver says that the differences between the old and new cars are noticeable from the cockpit.

Hauger says that while ultimately running was limited the early signs are good in Sakhir
Hauger says that while ultimately running was limited, the early signs are good in Sakhir

Teams will be working especially hard this pre-season in order to establish a strong baseline for car setup and get used to the nuances of the 2024 machine.

With dry running forecast for the remainder of the test, Hauger is hopeful that he and MP will be able to catch up on the interrupted dry running.

“There are a few differences, the car itself – the aerodynamics are a bit different, so it changes the car’s behaviour and the way we have to set the car up. There’s still stuff for us to work on there but so far, it’s been positive to drive around in and enjoyable.

“Hopefully, we can make some good steps tomorrow and be sure that we’re at where we want to be before the season starts.

READ MORE: Hauger quickest on rain-affected first day of Sakhir pre-season testing

“Obviously all the miles we can get at this stage is vital. When we wanted to get out and do some running today it started raining so we didn’t get what we needed really and still need to figure bits out.

“We need some setup tweaks and to get a feel of the car some more but again, here especially versus European tracks in the wet, it was quite high grip, so the plan is to now figure out what we need to do, but that’s the same for everyone, so we just have to deal with it.

“It’s nice to see yourself at the top, there’s no better feeling than that. I’m still keen to get started tomorrow properly and then do some dry stints. There’s going to be a lot of stuff to test because now we only have two days and we haven’t been out there on a dry track yet, so there’s going to be a lot of stuff to figure out.”