Josef Kral leads the way in Abu Dhabi
Arden International driver sets best laptime during GP2 Asia Series Round 1 free practice
Czech Josef Kral set the pace at the wheel of his #3 Arden International car this afternoon in a 1:37.020 lap, three tenths clear from his closest rival Davide Valsecchi at Team AirAsia.
Today marked the opening of the fourth season of the GP2 Asia Series in Abu Dhabi. The 4.730 kilometre long Yas Marina Circuit welcomed the twenty six GP2/11 cars on their Pirelli rubber for the first practice session of the 2011 season.
The session picked up quickly with the laptimes improving gradually and until Kral set the early pace seven minutes into the session ahead of Rapax's Fabio Leimer, iSport's Sam Bird and Lotus ART's Esteban Gutierrez. Bird put together a good lap and improved enough to take top spot, but that was just temporary. In the same lap, Kral lit all his sectors green and set up the best laptime of the session. In spite of their best efforts, no one could match the Arden racer's pace.
At mid-session, Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART moved up to P2, with Valsecchi in tow, the Italian proving once more that his new team Team AirAsia good form for their GP2 debut. The rest of the session was marked by a few drivers going a bit too wide along the track, but without any incidents. In the final minutes, Valsecchi improved and edged Bianchi out of second spot, but at the chequered flag Kral remained the fastest man of the session and a clear contender for this afternoon's pole position.