ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc and Nyck de Vries lead the way
ART Grand Prix’s and Scuderia Ferrari  Team Development driver Charles Leclerc continued his mighty form from testing at the Red Bull Ring last month to top the timesheet in Free Practice for Round 2 of the 2016 GP3 Series. His teammate Nyck de Vries was just 0.041s shy of the Monegasque driver with Campos Racing’s Steijn Schothorst completing the top three.
The forty-five minute practice session commenced in warm temperature with cloudy skies at the Austrian track. Early on, DAMS’ rookie Jake Hughes had a small excursion at Turn 3 with a quick visit through the gravel bed with the Brit able to continue and return to the pits.
Trident’s Sandy Stuvik shot to the top of the timings in a 1:20.713; one tenth ahead of Koiranen GP’s Matthew Parry. Giuliano Alesi was next to light up the timing screen as he posted the second fastest lap, 0.092 adrift of his Thai teammate. Unfortunately the Frenchman made contact with the barrier at Turn 1, with the session briefly being red flagged as Alesi was able to climb out of his car unaided.
The clock continued to tick down and once the track was green again, Ferrari Driver Academy’s Antonio Fuoco shot up to P2, with Artur Janosz in fourth to complete a Trident top four. ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Albon found some extra pace to grab P1, but only for a matter of seconds before Leclerc eclipsed his time by almost half a second.
De Vries improved to second; 0.176 off Leclerc; until the Monegasque driver improved on his personal best, lighting up sectors two and three in purple. It was a battle of the teammates with the Dutchman responding; and lapping a mere 0.041 off the Series leader.
There were plenty of position changes in the final five minutes with Schothorst rising to third quickest ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Oscar Tunjo and Richard Gonda. At the chequered flag behind Leclerc and De Vries; Schothorst, Tunjo, Gonda, Parry, Nirei Fukuzumi, Akash Nandy, Alex Palou and Santino Ferrucci rounded out the top ten.
The second qualifying session of the 2016 season takes place tomorrow at 09.45 local time (GMT+2).
Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Charles Leclerc
ART Grand Prix
1:20.030
21
2.
Nyck de Vries
ART Grand Prix
1:20.071
20
3.
Steijn Schothorst
Campos Racing
1:20.184
23
4.
Oscar Tunjo
Jenzer Motorsport
1:20.307
23
5.
Richard Gonda
Jenzer Motorsport
1:20.308
23
6.
Matthew Parry
Koiranen GP
1:20.339
22
7.
Nirei Fukuzumi
ART Grand Prix
1:20.399
22
8.
Akash Nandy
Jenzer Motorsport
1:20.416
22
9.
Alex Palou
Campos Racing
1:20.445
21
10.
Santino Ferrucci
DAMS
1:20.448
21
11.
Konstantin Tereschenko
Campos Racing
1:20.541
23
12.
Jake Dennis
Arden International
1:20.549
23
13.
Ralph Boschung
Koiranen GP
1:20.561
22
14.
Alexander Albon
ART Grand Prix
1:20.572
21
15.
Jack Aitken
Arden International
1:20.591
25
16.
Antonio Fuoco
Trident
1:20.605
21
17.
Artur Janosz
Trident
1:20.677
21
18.
Sandy Stuvik
Trident
1:20.713
21
19.
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:20.805
8
20.
Matevos Isaakyan
Koiranen GP
1:21.006
21
21.
Kevin Joerg
DAMS
1:21.011
22
22.
Jake Hughes
DAMS
1:21.013
21
23.
Tatiana Calderon
Arden International
1:21.393
19