GP2

Istanbul: Series practice report

Pantano sets pace in free practice The Italian driver from Racing Engineering was fastest this morning in Istanbul Giorgio Pantano has started as he means to go on by claiming the top spot in free practice this morning in ...

Pantano sets pace in free practice

The Italian driver from Racing Engineering was fastest this morning in Istanbul

Giorgio Pantano has started as he means to go on by claiming the top spot in free practice this morning in Istanbul, edging out the Piquet Sports duo of Andreas Zuber and Pastor Maldonado.

The Italian was fast throughout the session, setting the best times in every sector overall, and his laptime of 1:33.815 was just three tenths off the optimum split sector lap. His lap was also two tenths faster than Zuber, who in turn was four tenths ahead of his teammate.

With the session taking place under overcast skies the temperature was not optimal for the hard compound tyres being used this weekend, but with the pace being fast from the start you would be forgiven for looking at the laptimes and assuming it was ideal weather for the field. The first half of the session was dominated by the eventual top three along with Sebastien Buemi and Alvaro Parente, with Pantano taking control of the session at the halfway mark.

Further back the ART drivers were struggling, with both Luca Filippi and Romain Grosjean spending time off track as they tried to tame their recalcitrant cars: the Frenchman eventually found a compromise which allowed him to set the fourth fastest time at the end of the session, but last year's poleman struggled through to the end with little reward for his hard work.

They weren't the only men struggling during the session: Adrian Valles and Alberto Valerio touched as they tried to share the same corner, while Buemi, Yelmer Buurman and Javier Villa also had big spins as they went over the edge in pursuit of a fast lap. Kamui Kobayashi and Valerio had reasons to be disappointed with their session: both men crossed the finish line twice after the chequered flag, picking up five place penalties for the race one grid as a result of their over enthusiasm.

But in the end it was Pantano on top of the timesheets, with his fastest lap being 1.7 seconds ahead of the quickest time in free practice here last year. With 22 drivers within 2 seconds of his time, and with a shower starting just after the session completed, this afternoon's qualifying session promises to be more than a little dramatic.

-credit; gp2series.com

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Adrian Valles , Pastor Maldonado , Kamui Kobayashi , Andreas Zuber , Yelmer Buurman , Alberto Valerio , Javier Villa
Teams Racing Engineering