Gonda fastest in Free Practice in Barcelona   13.05.2016



Richard Gonda set the marker in today’s opening session of Round 1 of the 2016 GP3 Series season in Barcelona, Spain. The Slovakian set a best laptime of 1:37.032 in changeable conditions. His Jenzer Motorsport teammate Akash Nandy was second, ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries.

The forty-five minute session got underway at the Circuit de Catalunya with light rain falling. Some drivers took to the track on slicks whilst others preferred the wet Pirelli rubber. It was a pretty quiet first half of the session with the rain continuing to fall: almost all of the drivers opted to remain in the pitlane to see if conditions improved.

At the midway point, Koiranen GP’s Mahaveer Raghunathan went fastest ahead of Campos Racing’s Steijn Schothorst. Only five drivers posted a laptime in the first 30 minutes but as the sky brightened briefly, more drivers took to the track.

DAMS and Haas F1 development driver Santino Ferrucci was first to lap into the 1m37s until ART’s Nirei Fukuzumi bettered his time. However, the American found some extra pace on his next lap to reclaim P1. Artur Janosz who had just clocked the sixth best time had a small moment at Turn 1 when he the lost the rear of his Trident machine and spun. The Pole was able to continue.

Gonda then shot to the top of the timesheet with five minutes remaining and was joined by Nandy - the Malaysian debutant lapping one tenth shy of his teammate. In the dying minutes, Campos Racing’s Konstantin Tereshchenko ran wide into the gravel and made contact with the barrier. The Russian jumped out of his car and the session was not re-started.

Behind Gonda and Nandy at the flag were de Vries, Charles Leclerc, Tereshchenko, Ferrucci, Alex Palou, Alexander Albon, Jake Hughes and Janosz.

The first qualifying session of the 2016 season will take place tomorrow at 09.45 local time (GMT+2).


(source: http://www.gp3series.com/News/2016/05_May/Gonda-fastest-in-Free-Practice-in-Barcelona/)