Trident’s Luca Ghiotto fastest in Belgium
Luca Ghiotto made his intentions clear for the weekend by posting the quickest time in the forty-five minute Free Practice session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Series leader picked up where he left off in Budapest to leave his rivals in no doubt of his speed and determination for Round 5 of the 2015 GP3 Series season. Carlin and Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco was second, ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Ralph Boschung.
A track temperature of almost forty degrees greeted the GP3 drivers in unusual weather conditions for the Belgian circuit set in the Ardennes. There was one change to this weekend’s driver line-up; Dutch driver Beitske Visser joined the Trident squad after completing one round of GP3 back in 2014.
Ghiotto was first to lap in the 2m07’s, whilst Carlin’s Jann Mardenborough who had set the initial pace had a moment after running wide on the Eau Rouge kerb which sent his car airborne. The Brit was able to continue his session.
After twenty minutes, Ghiotto was fastest by over half a second, clocking the best time in all three sectors. Fuoco, Arden International’s Emil Bernstorff, and Mardenborough completed the top four. Once the drivers pitted for new rubber, the timing screens were set alight and it was the Trident trio who topped the standings.
Newcomer to the Italian squad, Visser, was up to P2, before Ghiotto and then Artur Janosz displaced her to third. Campos Racing’s Alex Palou was also on the move and the Spaniard jumped up to third fastest, before Jenzer Motorsport’s Pal Varhaug rose to P1, first to lap in the 2m06’s.
The Jenzer Motorsport squad then repeated the form of their Italian rivals to lock out the top three positions with Matheo Tuscher and Boschung close behind their Norwegian teammate. Ghiotto’s pace was looking ominous and the Trident ace soon reclaimed P1 by over four tenths as the clock ticked down as he recorded the fastest time in both sector two and three.
Ghiotto was not done yet and improved again on his next lap to increase his advantage to over six tenths. As the chequered flag came out, Fuoco found some extra pace to rise to second and reduce Ghiotto’s margin at the front to three tenths.
Behind the Italian duo of Ghiotto and Fuoco, Boschung, Varhaug, Tuscher, Matthew Parry (Koiranen GP), Alex Fontana (Status Grand Prix), Mitchell Gilbert (Carlin), Janosz and Palou completed the top ten.
Qualifying takes place at 09.45 am local time tomorrow morning: Ghiotto took pole position here in 2014 on his debut in GP3 and the Italian will be doing all he can to repeat that this year.
Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
2.06.005
15
2.
Antonio Fuoco
Carlin
2:06.346
15
3.
Ralph Boschung
Jenzer Motorsport
2:06.673
17
4.
Pal Varhaug
Jenzer Motorsport
2:06.829
18
5.
Matheo Tuscher
Jenzer Motorsport
2:06.953
15
6.
Matthew Parry
Koiranen GP
2:07.084
15
7.
Alex Fontana
Status Grand Prix
2:07.267
15
8.
Mitchell Gilbert
Carlin
2:07.282
14
9.
Artur Janosz
Trident
2:07.390
14
10.
Alex Palou
Campos Racing
2:07.568
14
11.
Jann Mardenborough
Carlin
2:07.585
14
12.
Beitske Visser
Trident
2:07.644
15
13.
Aleksander Bosak
Arden International
2:08.013
16
14.
Emil Bernstorff
Arden International
2:08.231
16
15.
Kevin Ceccon
Arden International
2:08.525
12
16.
Zaid Ashkanani
Campos Racing
2:08.619
15
17.
Esteban Ocon
ART Grand Prix
2:08.799
17
18.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
ART Grand Prix
2:08.940
16
19.
Sandy Stuvik
Status Grand Prix
2:09.572
16
20.
Jimmy Eriksson
Koiranen GP
2:09.602
16
21.
Adderly Fong
Koiranen GP
2:10.025
12
22.
Alfonso Celis. Jr
ART Grand Prix
2:10.132
17
23.
Seb Morris
Status Grand Prix
1