GP2 Series Media

The final round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series opened this morning at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola with two practice sessions, giving drivers more track time to learn the new layout. It was Sam Bird at iSport International who set the best laptime of the two sessions in 1:28.312, two tenths faster than Giedo van der Garde at Barwa Addax Team.

In the first thirty minute practice session, van der Garde proved that he means business this weekend by setting the quickest laptime of a 1:29.095 and leaving his rivals to chase after him. The start of the session saw Lotus ART’s and Series’ leader Jules Bianchi set the early pace, with teammate and GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutierrez in tow. But as the clock ticked down, rookie Andrea Caldarelli at Ocean Racing was the first driver to break the 1:30 barrier, improving Bianchi’s time by six tenths.

Whilst the young Italian was topping the session, van der Garde made his way up the timing sheet, first edging Bianchi out of P2, before taking control of the session. His best laptime was never beaten and a last minute effort from Carlin’s Mikhail Aleshin, Rapax’s Fabio Leimer and Arden’s Jolyon Palmer was simply not enough. The session was marked by two minor incidents: in the first half iSport’s Marcus Ericsson stopped at Turn 5, while Romain Grosjean at Dams stopped at Turn 6 in the second half. The session was under yellow flags during both incidents. The two racers missed the second session along with GP2 returnee Luca Filippi at Scuderia Coloni due to mechanical gremlins.

At the restart, Bird who had previously ended the first practice in last position was quick to recover. He went top ten minutes into the session and became the first driver to break the 1:29 barrier. He was soon followed by Dani Clos, Van der Garde, Leimer, Nathanael Berthon, Michael Herck and Max Chilton, but Bird’s best laptime of 1:28.312 was to stay unbeaten throughout the remainder of the session. In the dying minutes, Gutierrez lost control of his car at Turn 6 and damaged his front wing.

The qualifying session will start at 15:30, local time.

Imola – Practice Session 1

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:29.095 11
2. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:29.379 13
3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:29.443 13
4. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:29.486 14
5. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:29.487 12
6. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.600 11
7. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:29.604 11
8. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:29.740 9
9. Julian Leal Rapax 1:29.784 13
10. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:29.901 13
11. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:29.954 11
12. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 1:19.988 12
13. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:30.010 15
14. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:30.106 13
15. Josef Kral Arden International 1:30.191 7
16. Max Chilton Carlin 1:30.216 11
17. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:30.225 10
18. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:30.311 15
19. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:30.479 13
20. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology 1:30.507 12
21. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing 1:30.880 11
22. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:32.373 11
23. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:32.475 11
24. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:32.787 4
25. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:32.859 8
26. Sam Bird iSport International 1:33.041 12

 

Imola – Practice Session 2

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Sam Bird iSport International 1:28.312 11
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:28.515 12
3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:28.566 12
4. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:28.584 11
5. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:28.585 12
6. Davide Valsecchi Team AirAsia 1:28.646 11
7. Max Chilton Carlin 1:28.694 11
8. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:28.762 14
9. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:28.894 11
10. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:28.901 13
11. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova Racing 1:28.931 13
12. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:28.961 13
13. Josef Kral Arden International 1:29.084 12
14. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:29.292 14
15. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1:29.293 12
16. Luiz Razia Team AirAsia 1:29.341 9
17. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:29.410 11
18. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:29.437 18
19. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:29.672 10
20. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:29.762 18
21. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.885 15
22. Oliver Turvey Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.927 14
23. Julian Leal Rapax 1:30.422 14