This time Francesco Castellacci (Alan Docking Racing) was out there straight away, keen to get some track time now he had a car with an engine that didnâ€™t explode within yards of home. He still wasnâ€™t first out though. That was Stephen ...
This time Francesco Castellacci (Alan Docking Racing) was out there straight away, keen to get some track time now he had a car with an engine that didn’t explode within yards of home. He still wasn’t first out though. That was Stephen Jelley (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), the Englishman keen to claim pole if he possibly could. It was no surprise to anyone when he set the first target time, although he was rapidly joined by Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing), Greg Mansell (Fortec Motorsport) and Mario Moraes (Carlin Motorsport). Atte Mustonen (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was also at or near the front of the order early on. More surprising, perhaps, was the presence of Max Chilton (Arena International Motorsport), who was briefly 5th. Meanwhile Alberto Valerio and Maro Engel were towing each other round the circuit, the Carlin Motorsport pair providing that essential slipstreaming aid to each other with first Valerio and then Engel setting the fastest time of the session. Jelley, on the other hand, had to manage on his own, though it didn’t stop him improving on his initial provisional pole time. The third Carlin driver to move up the order was Sam Bird, but at this point he was only 5th, which isn’t really where you want to be. In the National Class, “Frankie” Cheng (Performance Racing) was having his usual battle with Sergio Perez (T-Sport), though it was Cheng who had the upper hand just now. It was an absorbing battle, but not quite as absorbing as the fight for the Championship Class lead.
Asmer went 2nd, with Greg Mansell a place behind, but then Jelley came back and Mustonen edged the pair of them down. Engel dropped to 5th ahead of Moraes and Valerio. Then Mansell bettered Asmer’s time for 3rd, only for Bird to get ahead of him and Engel to leap forward to pole. Asmer was back down to 5th, and lost out further to Moraes, while Cheng was now 6th overall. Perez was only just behind him and if you blinked you’d miss a position change. Mustonen was the next to sit on pole for a short while, before Jonathan Kennard (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) appeared from nowhere to claim 4th. He didn’t keep it long – Bird had designs on that place, as did Niall Breen (Carlin Motorsport), the Irish driver moving up to 5th. John Martin (Alan Docking Racing) was again showing quite strongly in 8th, but all eyes were on the front. Jelley dug a little deeper to go fastest, and while he was doing that Esteban Guerrieri (Ultimate Motorsport) found some time from somewhere to move from almost last (out of 33 cars) to 7th at the end of his first real flying lap. To find Asmer now you had to look a long way back, as the Estonian was stranded outside the top ten, and not looking very pleased about it, especially as the likes of Perez were in the top ten, leading the National Class.
Meanwhile, Engel put in the new fastest lap of the session, with Bird slotting in 3rd and Perez climbing up to 7th overall. With half the session run, the order was suddenly Engel from Jelley, Mustonen, Bird, Kennard, Breen, Perez, Valerio, Moraes and Guerrieri. You had to be in a Double R or Carlin car it seemed (or be the National Class leader) if you wanted to be in the top ten. The pattern was broken up by Greg Mansell, who slotted in 9th, and then it was all change again as Asmer grabbed 4th, and Valerio improved to 7th, Moraes to 6th. Mustonen’s plan derailed when he ended up deep in the gravel at the Parabolica, which meant he’d be lucky to stay 3rd. A hint perhaps – if you plan on running extra fuel because you always set your fastest lap towards the end of the session, it helps if you’re still out there at the end, not sitting in gravel with 6 laps of fuel left…Just as that happened, Greg Mansell had moved to 5th so the threat to the Estonian’s place was clearly there. It escalated when Valerio shot up to 4th, but then things ran out of steam just as they had in the morning session, There were still the odd changes to the order, particularly from Michael Devaney (Ultimate Motorsport), who had got out rather late and was now making up for lost time. Asmer also managed to find some speed from somewhere, and claimed 4th. The only other major change came from Sebastian Hohenthal (Fortec Motorsport) who was near the back of the field with four minutes of the session left to run. A concentrated effort and he was 6th, ahead of his team-mate Greg Mansell, and not far off the pace considering how the session had started.
Engel claimed his second pole of the day from Jelley, Mustonen, Asmer, Valerio, Hohenthal, Mansell, Bird, Moraes and Kennard (who had run out of brakes). Breen ended up 11th ahead of National Class poleman Perez, Guerrieri, Cheng, Devaney, Martin, Rodolfo Gonzalez (T-Sport), Walter Grubmüller (Hitech Racing), Ricardo Teixeira (Performance Racing) and Hamad Al Fardan (Performance Racing). Michael Meadows (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was 21st, from Chilton, Leo Mansell (Fortec Motorsport), Matteo Chinosi (Ombra Racing), Juan Pablo Garcia Samano (Fluid Motorsport), Federico Glorioso (Ombra Racing), Viktor Jensen (Alan Docking Racing), Sean Petterson (Fluid Motorsport), Dominick Muermans (Swiss Racing Team) and Alex Waters (Promatecme F3). Alistair Jackson (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was 31st, with the last two places going to Castellacci and Albert Costa (Raikkonen Robertson Racing).