GP2

Julian Leal sets the pace at Spa

Julian Leal has returned to GP2 after the summer break in fine form: the Colombian driver set the fastest laptime of today’s free practice session at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in a 1:57.877 ahead of Johnny Cecotto and Ferrari protégé Raffaele Marciello.
The eighth round of the 2014 season opened in Belgium in cool temperature, but on a dry track with all twenty-six drivers trying to warm up their Pirelli Hard compounds. It was Series leader Jolyon Palmer who set the early pace with a laptime one tenth of a second quicker than title rival Felipe Nasr. However, the Briton’s time was soon bettered by Sergio Canamasas who then lost the top spot to Nathanaël Berthon.
With ten minutes down into the session, Cecotto went top ahead of Leal who lapped the Belgian track one tenth of a second slower than the Venezuelan driver. But mid-session, the Carlin man was able to find some extra pace: he dipped under 1m58s and would remain top until the end.
The session was trouble free, but eleven minutes before the end, Stefano Coletti ran a bit too wide at Turn 14, spun and eventually stopped on track which ended his session prematurely. A red flag came out whilst the marshals retrieved his Racing Engineering car. At the restart, there were four minutes left on the clock which was just enough time for an outlap followed by a push lap, but Leal remained P1 at the chequered flag ahead of Cecotto and Marciello. Berthon finished fourth ahead of his teammate Conor Daly who moved up to fifth place on his last lap. Local star Stoffel Vandoorne, Canamasas, Coletti, Stéphane Richelmi and Mitch Evans completed the top ten.
Spa-Francorchamps – Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:57.877
12
2.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
1:58.030
11
3.
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
1:58.265
14
4.
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:58.291
15
5.
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:58.302
14
6.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:58.339
13
7.
Sergio Canamasas
Trident
1:58.370
13
8.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
1:58.374
11
9.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:58.399
14
10.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:58.439
14
11.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Rapax
1:58.454
12
12.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
1:58.462
14
13.
Marco Sorensen
MP Motorsport
1:58.487
13
14.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:58.658
10
15.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:58.787
13
16.
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:58.800
13
17.
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
1:58.889
12
18.
Tom Dillmann
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:58.923
13
19
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
1:58.943
14
20.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:59.020
12
21.
Rene Binder
Arden International
1:59.167
14
22.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
1:59.179
14
23.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:59:311
13
24.
André Negrao
Arden International
1:59.463
12
25.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:59.531
12
26.
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
1:59.564
11