Crash.Net GP2 News
Kral on top in Friday practice
27 July 2012
Josef Kral managed to find a quiet moment with no traffic underfoot to set the fastest time of the Friday morning session in Hungary.
Daniël de Jong had been the first man out on track for practice at the Hungaroring, in his return behind the wheel of the Rapax car after missing Hockenheim because of a conflicting round of the AutoGP World Series championship. With the benefit of a clear track ahead of him, his first lap was a stately 1:41.160s with the rest of the field well back from him on that first run as they experienced various traffic jams and duly backed off to save their tyres for a proper run of it next time around.
The Lotus GP duo then duly jumped to the top, James Calado setting a benchmark of 1:30.483s three quarters of a second faster than Esteban Gutiérrex, and Luiz Razia slotting in between them with his own effort in the Arden. Caterham's Giedo van der Garde, Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer and Coloni's Stefano Coletti filled out the initial top six.
Rio Haryanto shaved Calado's margin over the field to under a tenth of a second just before Razia got out of shape and spun at turn 13 ten minutes into the session, and his Carlin team mate trimmed that even further to just four thousandths of a second a couple of minute later. But it was finally iSport's Marcus Ericsson who toppled Calado with a 1:30.422s before his time was quickly beaten in turn by Giedo van der Garde and then by Fabio Leimer who went top with 1:30.078s.
Calado responded with the first lap under the 90s mark, posting a time of 1:29.837s 12 minutes into the session to put him ahead of Van der Garde and DAMS' Davide Valsecchi, at which point most of the drivers started to return to pit lane for their mid-session set-up tweaks and consultation with their race engineers. One of the few to stay out and benefit form the traffic-free conditions was Josef Kral, who made the most of it by going top with a lap of 1:29.573s for Barwa Addax with a little over ten minutes remaining as the track continued to rubber in and clean up.
Kral's benchmark time continued to stand even as Leimer just held on to a seat-of-the-pants 1:29.732s with less than five minutes remaining in the session, and iSport's Jolyon Palmer improved into fourth place with a lap of 1:29.916s after getting baulked by traffic in his earlier flying laps. However, few of the front runners were inclined to throw a new set of tyres at a purely practice session which meant that no one else was able to significantly improve their times or threaten to dislodge Kral from the top, especially once local yellows came out for a piece of bodywork (the top of the cockpit section which fits over the driver's headrest) that had become detached from Victor Guerin's Ocean Racing car and come to rest by the side of the track in sector 2.
Apart from Razia's early mishap - from which he was able to keep his engine running and get back underway - there was only a harmless spin for de Jong with seven minutes to go in the session and some minor lock-ups from the likes of Felipe Nasr and Giedo van der Garde.
What had proved to be a brisk and efficient 30 minutes practice session was held in dry conditions, with temperatures rapidly climbing toward the scorching conditions expected for the afternoon sessions and no sign of any thunderstorms forecast for later over the race weekend.
The qualifying session will take place at 3pm after F1 Free Practice 2. The 39-lap feature race 1 on Saturday afternoon is scheduled to get underway at 2.40pm after Grand Prix qualifying, and the Sunday morning 28-lap sprint race 2 at 9.35am. All sessions are scheduled to be shown live on Sky Sports F1
Full Friday practice session times