Bird tops Imola GP2 practice
|2.||G. van der Garde||1:28.515|
18 March 2011 – Sport and Sam Bird set the pace on Friday morning as the GP2 Asia Series burst back into life at Imola in Italy, with the remaining four Bahrain races having all been called off due to the ongoing civil unrest in the country. Behind the Englishman’s best effort of 1:28.312, Giedo van der Garde and Fabio Leimer completed the top three.
Two practice sessions took place at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari this morning, as officials decided to provide drivers with additional track time in order to familiarise themselves with the Italian circuit. Bird’s effort too good to beat at the historic venue, with lap times improving significantly later in the morning.
Stefano Coletti wound up behind the top three at the end of practice two, 0.001 seconds ahead of Racing Engineering’s Dani Clos. Third-place man in the standings Davide Valsecchi was third, with the Team AirAsia driver looking to continue the strong run of form he showed during the last meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Max Chilton and Michael Herck followed in seventh and eight places respectively, with Pal Varhaug and Nathanael Berthon rounding out the top ten. Championship leader Jules Bianchi occupied 20th place at the end of the morning, but finished ahead of nearest title rival Romain Grosjean who crashed out during first practice.
Qualifying in Italy begins at 2:30pm local time (GMT +1)