It was GP3 returnee Richie Stanaway who topped the first session of the 2014 season with a best laptime of 1:36.357. Trident’s Roman De Beer and Carlin’s Luis Sa Silva were second and third quickest.
Free Practice got underway on a glorious sunny evening at the Circuit de Catalunya with a track temperature of 42 degrees. Arden International’s Robert Visoiu and Status Grand Prix’s Nick Yelloly were first to take to the track in a full field of 27 drivers.
Nelson Mason (Hilmer Motorsport) spun into the gravel at Turn 4 which brought a premature end to his session. In the meantime, ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer led the way with Carlin’s Alex Lynn second fastest.
There was a brief red flag when Ivan Taranov’s Hilmer Motorsport car was cleared from the track after stopping on the circuit. Once the session resumed, Trident’s Roman De Beer jumped to P1 with six minutes remaining and further improved on his next lap.
Stanaway was on a flier though and shot to the top spot as the clock ticked down. Beitske Visser stopped on the track with a few minutes remaining, the rookie making her full debut in the GP3 car this weekend. Sa Silva rose to third as the chequered flag came out to mark the end of the forty-five minute Free Practice session.
Stanaway, De Beer, Sa Silva, Kirchhöfer, Santiago Urrutia (Koiranen GP), Yelloly, Lynn, Dino Zamparelli (ART Grand Prix), Alex Fontana and Jimmy Eriksson completed the top ten.
Qualifying takes place at 09.45 am local time tomorrow morning – who will become the first pole-sitter of the 2014 GP3 Series season? It promises to be an epic weekend.
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:36.357 17
2. Roman De Beer Trident 1:36.686 15
3. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 1:36.789 14
4. Marvin Kirchhöfer ART Grand Prix 1:36.817 13
5. Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP 1:36.850 13
6. Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix 1:36.886 18
7. Alex Lynn Carlin 1:36.950 14
8. Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix 1:36.987 15
9. Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix 1:37.027 14
10. Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 1:37.029 14
11. Emil Bernstorff Carlin 1:37.066 15
12. Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 1:37.095 15
13. Robert Visoiu Arden International 1:37.169 15
14. Adderly Fong Jenzer Motorsport 1:37.403 15
15. Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 1:37.410 16
16. Patrick Kujala Marussia Manor Racing 1:37.446 16
17. Dean Stoneman Marussia Manor Racing 1:37.528 14
18. Victor Carbone Trident 1:37.646 16
19. Patric Niederhauser Arden International 1:37.818 16
20. Beitske Visser Hilmer Motorsport 1:37.872 17
21. Jann Mardenborough Arden International 1:37.886 18
22. Alfonso Celis. Jr Status Grand Prix 1:37.956 13
23. Denis Nagulin Trident 1:38.344 18
24. Ryan Cullen Marussia Manor Racing 1:38.406 16
25. Ivan Taranov Hilmer Motorsport 1:38.858 16
26. Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport 1:39.336 7
27. Carmen Jorda Koiranen GP 1:40.239 13