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Rodriguez sets Monza free practice pace


Roldan Rodriguez threw down a gauntlet to the rest of the GP2 Series field by claiming the fastest time in Friday morning's free practice session at Monza, leading the way from Lucas di Grassi and Javier Villa.

The mercurial Spaniard gave the beleaguered Piquet family some good news as he led the running for almost the entire session in the best of the Piquet GP entries, with his best lap of 1min 30.607secs set only six minutes into the half-hour session. However, despite the close competition exhibited by most of the GP2 field this season, the mark proved to be untouchable by the remainder of the field, which was reduced in number by the absence of both Durango cars following Stefano Coletti being adjudged unable to take part as a result of the injuries he picked up in his feature race crash at Spa.

Most of the field were able to stay out of trouble ahead of Friday afternoon's qualifying session, although the fabled Parabolica claimed a few scalps, with Alvaro Parente and Pastor Maldonado both running into the tyre wall and stopping, while Alberto Valerio escaped serious damage after glancing the barrier.

Lucas di Grassi, set to miss out on another title shot, was second fastest, just 0.126secs off the pace, while Javier Villa and champion-elect Nico Hulkenberg - who can clinch the title by maintaining his 28-point lead over Vitaly Petrov this weekend - were next up, with the Russian rounding out the top five.

Diego Nunes, iSport team-mate Giedo van der Garde, Maldonado, Edoardo Mortara and Luca Filippi completed the top ten, all within a second of the fastest time, while Andreas Zuber was twelfth fastest on Coloni's return to the fray. Newcomer Johnny Cecotto Jr, who replaces Franck Perera in the second DPR entry, made a solid start to his debut, clocking the 21st fastest lap, albeit 2.3secs shy of Rodriguez.



Related Pictures

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Roldan Rodriguez - Piquet GP   [pic credit: GP2]
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2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering), Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) & Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
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2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) leads Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Alexander Rossi (USA, Racing Engineering) celebrates on the podium with Jordan King (GBR, Racing Engineering). Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Matthew Parry (GBR, Koiranen GP) crashes into a wall. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
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2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. The Safety car is deployed Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Thursday 20 August 2015. Daniel de Jong (NED, MP Motorsport). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.

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