Mortara on top again in practice
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, November 14th 2008, 04:59 GMT|
Edoardo Mortara kept up his strong start to the Macau Grand Prix weekend when he topped the times once again in Friday's final free practice session ahead of qualifying.
The Signature-Plus driver, who has been fastest in every session so far this weekend, made the most of a tow from another car down the long straight into Mandarin Bend before setting his best lap ten minutes into practice.
With his car fully repaired after his accident in first qualifying, Mortara admitted to being a little surprised to be fastest overall having spent the session mainly focusing on his race setup.
"Everything was okay," he said. "We just wanted to prepare for the race this morning, so I was not expecting to be first at the end. It looks good for qualifying, the car feels fine and I am happy.
"At the moment, I am not thinking about my rivals too much - all I am thinking about is the lap time. I am expecting a big fight for pole position this afternoon, with a lot of drivers up there going for the top spot."
Mortara's closest rival was once again TOM'S driver Carlo van Dam, and the Japanese F3 champion has closed the gap from three tenths yesterday to 0.117s this morning.
Van Dam was thankful that a braking mistake heading into Lisboa late in the session did not result in him hitting the barriers. Instead, he just went up the escape road and harmlessly came to a stop.
"We've made some good steps with the car, but it is hard to say exactly where we are because the tyres we are using are now quite old," he said. "That was why I pushed a little too hard and made that mistake under braking. But everything looks like it is heading in the right direction."
Italian Kei Cozzolino was third fastest for the Now Motor Sports team, with British F3 champion Jaime Alguersuari fourth quickest - but hitting trouble late on when he crashed at San Francisco Bend, badly damaging the left hand side of his car and ripping off his rear wing.
Alguersuari's accident brought out the second red flag of the session, with practice being stopped earlier after 20 minutes when Nicola de Marco's stranded RC Motorsport car was judged to have been left in a dangerous position after he spun at Fishermen's Bend.
There was more disappointment for Mika Maki, who returned to action for the first time since his sizeable accident in first practice. He suffered a puncture and spent much of the session in the pits.
Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V 2:13.054 2. Carlo van Dam TOM'S D/T 2:13.171 +0.117 3. Kei Cozzolino Now D/T 2:14.171 +1.117 4. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin D/M 2:14.245 +1.191 5. Oliver Turvey Carlin D/M 2:14.351 +1.297 6. Roberto Merhi Hitech D/M 2:14.542 +1.488 7. Brendon Hartley Carlin D/M 2:14.616 +1.562 8. Marcus Ericsson Carlin D/M 2:14.709 +1.655 9. Renger van der Zande Prema D/M 2:14.714 +1.660 10. Roberto Streit Double R D/M 2:14.775 +1.721 11. Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 2:15.082 +2.028 12. Sam Bird Manor D/M 2:15.120 +2.066 13. Max Chilton Hitech D/M 2:15.383 +2.329 14. Keisuke Kunimoto TOM'S D/T 2:15.474 +2.420 15. Atte Mustonen Double R D/M 2:15.515 +2.461 16. Franky Cheng Signature D/V 2:15.520 +2.466 17. Daniel Campos-Hull HBR D/M 2:16.015 +2.961 18. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 2:16.049 +2.995 19. Kazuya Oshima Manor D/M 2:16.352 +3.298 20. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 2:16.918 +3.864 21. James Jakes ART D/M 2:17.031 +3.977 22. Mika Maki Signature D/M 2:17.102 +4.048 23. James Winslow Ombra D/H 2:17.399 +4.345 24. Jon Lancaster Manor D/M 2:17.516 +4.462 25. Laurens Vanthoor RC D/V 2:17.832 +4.778 26. Koki Saga Le Beausset D/T 2:18.284 +5.230 27. Michael Ho Double R D/M 2:18.824 +5.770 28. Basil Shaaban HBR D/M 2:19.267 +6.213 29. Massaki Matsushita PTRS/Ombra D/H 2:19.480 +6.426 30. Nicola de Marco RC D/V 2:19.835 +6.781