Adrian Quaife-Hobbs quickest in second Marrakech Auto GP practice
|By Peter Mills||Friday, April 13th 2012, 14:15 GMT|
Auto GP series leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs set the fastest time in final practice for the championship's latest round at Marrakech on Friday, despite a spin that ended his session prematurely.
The Super Nova driver was unable to resume action after locking his rear brakes on the approach to Turn 10 and pirouetting, but the Briton's time of 1m29.336s was 1.3s ahead of the next best driver at the time - his team-mate Victor Guerin - despite running on a used set of tyres.
Virtuosi UK's Pal Varhaug staged a late flier to end the afternoon session as Quaife-Hobbs' closest challenger; the Norwegian reducing the gap to Quaife-Hobbs to just under 0.3s. The solitary Zele Racing entry of Giacommo Ricci was fitted with a set of new soft tyres to take third spot.
"We wanted a reference point ahead of qualifying, that's why we fitted the softs," explained team manager Michael Zele. "Qualifying will definitely be [on] supersofts, the good things is the track is so slippery, we are not expecting much tyre wear."
Formula Abarth Europe champion Sergey Sirotkin was fourth for Euronova, ahead of morning pacesetter Sergio Campana. MLR71 driver Campana was another to endure a premature end to his afternoon, after spinning off at Turn 1.
Guerin mirrored his team-mate Quaife-Hobbs in having dramas. The Brazilian stopped at Turn 2, bringing out yellow flags, but an early effort of 1m30.603s secured sixth.
Sirtokin's Euronova team-mate Antonio Spavone was 12th, readjusting to his Lola after testing for GP3 team Trident at Silverstone earlier in the week.
"In the GP3 you have to be fast in the middle of the corner," said Spavone. "Here, you have to brake at the last moment really hard and then turn. When you understand this you can adapt. There is only one clashing race between Auto GP and GP3. I will make a decision on which race I will miss based on how well I am doing in each championship."
Manor MP's drivers Chris van der Drift and Daniel de Jong both reported being slightly disappointed by their performances, after commenting that nothing felt unduly wrong with their cars.
Van der Drift ended the session in 11th, two places above Formula Renault 3.5 graduate de Jong.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Super Nova 1m29.336s 2. Pal Varhaug Virtuosi UK 1m29.607s + 0.271s 3. Giacomo Ricci Zele 1m29.759s + 0.423s 4. Sergey Sirotkin Euronova 1m30.021s + 0.685s 5. Sergio Campana MLR 71 1m30.099s + 0.763s 6. Victor Guerin Super Nova 1m30.603s + 1.267s 7. Yann Cunha Ombra 1m30.707s + 1.371s 8. Facu Regalia Campos 1m30.752s + 1.416s 9. Giuseppe Cipriani Campos 1m30.994s + 1.658s 10. Giancarlo Serenelli Ombra 1m31.004s + 1.668s 11. Chris van der Drift Manor MP 1m31.013s + 1.677s 12. Antonio Spavone Euronova 1m31.112s + 1.776s 13. Daniel de Jong Manor MP 1m31.315s + 1.979s 14. Michele la Rosa MLR 71 1m32.151s + 2.815s 15. Francesco Dracone Virtuosi UK 1m33.193s + 3.857s 16. Max Snegirev Campos 1m37.096s + 7.760s