Magny Cours: First practice report

Montagny sets early pace in Magny-Cours Championship leader Franck Montagny set the pace on the opening day of free practice for round three of the Superfund World Series by Nissan at Magny- Cours. The Gabord Competicion driver was quickest in...

Montagny sets early pace in Magny-Cours

Championship leader Franck Montagny set the pace on the opening day of free practice for round three of the Superfund World Series by Nissan at Magny- Cours. The Gabord Competicion driver was quickest in both of the day's sessions, but Carlin Motorsport's Narain Karthikeyan showed the local favourite will not have things his own way, getting within half a second of the Renault Formula 1 test driver.

In spite of running new tyres in the second 45-minute session, Montagny was unable to improve on his morning best of 1m27.659s.

He said: "The car was okay this morning, but this afternoon it was sliding too much and I couldn't feel the grip. I wasn't expecting to get P1, so I am feeling confident. You don't have to be half a second quicker than the rest to take pole."

Karthikeyan was fifth in morning practice and was also fast during unofficial testing on Thursday. He's hopeful of translating that form into a good grid position.

"I keep making mistakes in the final sector," he said. "I'm the quickest through the first two, but I'm losing out at the new corner before the final chicane. I'm confident for qualifying, so long as it doesn't rain."

The second Carlin car of Bruce Jouanny was third quickest in the combined times, ahead of Montagny's Gabord team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Stephane Sarrazin made it three Frenchman in the top five for Racing Engineering, while RC Motorsport's Polo Vilaamil was the quickest Spaniard in sixth fastest overall, but was one the few drivers not to run new tyres in the second session.

With no Williams Formula 1 testing commitments, Marc Gene was able to take his place at Adrian Campos Motorsport from the off, but despite the extra track time, the Spaniard has yet to realise the full potential of the car and was 14th overall, setting the 10th best time in the second session.

Championship frontrunner Bas Leinders had a tough day for Racing Engineering, suffering a gearbox problem, which kept him out of the second session. He was back in 20th overall, ahead of only GD Racing's new signing Mathieu Zangarelli and Ricardo Gonzalez, who brought out the red flags midway through the second session with an off into the gravel.

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Bruce Jouanny , Franck Montagny , Marc Gene , Narain Karthikeyan , Heikki Kovalainen , Ricardo Gonzalez , Bas Leinders , Adrian Campos , Mathieu Zang
Teams Williams , Carlin , Racing Engineering