The 2013 season kicked off in the best possible way for title hopeful James Calado: the ART driver set the fastest laptime of the free practice session this morning at Sepang International Circuit with a 1:45.403. Simon Trummer ended a hundredth shy behind the Brit.
The first free practice session of the ninth GP2 Series season opened in hot temperatures as the twenty-six drivers took to the track on Hard Pirelli tyres. Stefano Coletti was the first one out of the pitlane and was quick to set the pace, but his teammate Trummer improved on his flying second lap and moved up to P1.
The Swiss did not enjoy his time at the top for too long however as James Calado found some extra pace to improve on Trummer’s laptime by a hair’s breadth. Behind the pair, Tom Dillmann was quickest in the first two sectors, but a slower third sector put him in P3 ahead of rookie Mitch Evans.
The session was trouble free as the drivers came to grips with the track. Julian Leal took a short trip to the gravel bed at turn 4 before rejoining safely whilst Kevin Ceccon made one to the run-off area in a close call with Sergio Canamasas.. As the minutes dropped down, the standings remained unchanged at the top, and at the chequered flag, Calado could enjoy sitting pretty at the top of the standings for the first session of the season. Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Johnny Cecotto, Stefano Coletti, Rio Haryanto and Stéphane Richelmi completed the top ten.
With fourteen drivers running within one second of each other and the weather being unpredictable in Malaysia, today’s qualifying session promises to deliver some big surprises as the 26 drivers will be eager to kick-start their campaign in the best possible way.