Zamparelli sets pace in rain-hit session
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, John Bryant-Meisner and Luca Ghiotto.
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.