Brit Dino Zamparelli set the pace during the forty-five minute Free Practice ahead of his fellow ART Grand Prix teammates Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alex Fontana. The session was red flagged twice with very tricky conditions due to rain.
27 drivers lined up for opening session of the weekend for Round 6 of the 2014 GP3 Series from Spa-Francorchamps. There were four changes to the driver line-up, GP3 returnee Kevin Ceccon was in the number 22 machine at Jenzer Motorsport, whilst Trident fielded three new rookie drivers: Konstantin Tereshchenko from Russia, John Bryant-Meisner from Sweden and Luca Ghiotto from Italy.
Temperatures were cool with impending rain clouds above as free practice commenced. Series leader Alex Lynn from Carlin was first to set the pace in the 2m08’s before Zamparelli demoted him to P2. But the Red Bull Junior driver found extra pace to rise to the top and break into the 2m07’s. Zamparelli too found some extra speed, to displace Lynn again.
Kirchhöfer and Fontana soon jumped on the tail of their teammate to hold second and third fastest, with Lynn in fourth ahead of his teammate Emil Bernstorff. The drivers returned to the pits as light rain began to fall. It was challenging for drivers as early on the rain was falling only over the pitlane, La Source and Eau Rouge, with many drivers opting to remain in the pits to see what the weather would do.
Trident debutant Tereshchenko lost control under braking at the final corner and his car was launched into the air as he ran over the kerb and made contact with the barrier. The Russian driver climbed out of his car whilst the session was red flagged for his car to be removed.
When the session resumed, light drizzle continued to fall, this time more over the circuit with drivers unable to improve on their lap times. In the final minutes, Marussia Manor Racing’s Ryan Cullen also suffered an excursion, making light contact with the wall. With the rain coming down heavier and only a few minutes remaining on the clock – it was decided the session would not re-start.
At the chequered flag it was the ART Grand Prix trio of Zamparelli, Kirchhöfer and Fontana, followed by Lynn, Bernstorff, Mathéo Tuscher, Nick Yelloly, Jimmy Eriksson, Richie Stanaway and Patrick Kujala.
Qualifying takes place at 09.45 am local time tomorrow morning with rain expected – with four points up for grabs as the rounds tick down, it’s imperative in the fight for the title.
Free Practice – Spa-Francorchamps
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Dino Zamparelli ART Grand Prix 2:07.021 10
2. Marvin Kirchhöfer ART Grand Prix 2:07.372 7
3. Alex Fontana ART Grand Prix 2.07.392 8
4. Alex Lynn Carlin 2:07.437 12
5. Emil Bernstorff Carlin 2:07.696 10
6. Mathéo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport 2:08.035 10
7. Nick Yelloly Status Grand Prix 2:08.232 9
8. Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 2:08.271 9
9. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 2:08.341 10
10. Patrick Kujala Marussia Manor Racing 2:08.374 10
11. Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 2:08.495 10
12. Riccardo Agostini Hilmer Motorsport 2:08.648 8
13. Luca Ghiotto Trident 2:08.674 11
14. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 2:08.791 9
15. Santiago Urrutia Koiranen GP 2:08.826 8
16. Nelson Mason Hilmer Motorsport 2:08.861 7
17. Jann Mardenborough Arden International 2:08.918 10
18. Patric Niederhauser Arden International 2:09.627 8
19. Ryan Cullen Marussia Manor Racing 2:09.843 10
20. Kevin Ceccon Jenzer Motorsport 2:10.228 11
21. John Bryant-Meisner Trident 2:11.488 10
22. Konstantin Tereshchenko Trident 2:12.027 11
23. Alfonso Celis. Jr Status Grand Prix 2:12.213 8
24. Robert Visoiu Arden International 2:12.241 8
25. Sebastian Balthasar Hilmer Motorsport 2:12.754 11
26. Carmen Jorda Koiranen GP 2:14. 456 9
27. Dean Stoneman Marussia Manor Racing 2:18. 487 9