Korea GP: Montin sets early pace

Italy's Paulo Montin set the pace in free practice for the Formula Three Korea Super Prix at Changwon City Raceway, South Korea on Friday

Korea GP: Montin sets early pace

The Target Racing driver topped the time sheets with a best lap of 1m11.610s, and said: "The set-up of the car is OK, although we had a little problem with the rear damper which the team will fix overnight. We are already quicker than the pole position time from last year's race, so I'm confident that I'll be able to be there in qualifying tomorrow."

Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan, who took pole position in the Macau Grand Prix last weekend, was also competitive in Korea. His best effort for Carlin Motorsport was just 0.002s slower than Montin.

"I'm fairly satisfied, although it is very difficult to get a clear lap around the circuit," said Karthikeyan. "Out of 16 laps, I managed to get only four quick laps in."

Carlin team-mate Takuma Sato was third quickest overall with a time of 1m 11.806s, although he was one of many to crash at the chicane, sliding into the tyres in the closing minutes of practice.

There were many other incidents during the day as drivers tried to get to grips with the demanding street circuit. Macau GP winner Andre Couto suffered an early setback after only four laps of practice. As he recovered from a spin, Couto was hit by an unsighted Tiago Monteiro. His Opel Team BSR Dallara was badly damaged, although his team was able to fix the car before he was due out for the second practice session.

There were also accidents for Equipe de France driver Mathieu Zangarelli, RC Benetton's British driver Ben Collins and Team HMS racer Pierre Kaffer, each of which brought out the red flags in the third session of the day. Kaffer's car was severely damaged after he got out of shape at the chicane and thumped the tyre wall.

Elsewhere in the field, Britain's Derek Hayes, competing in his first ever F3 race with Manor Motorsport, was happy with his performance which was enough for fifth quickest time. It wasn't all good news for him, though, as the underside of his car was damaged when he ran over a kerb at the chicane.

Hayes said: "It is my first race on a street circuit and I think it is brilliant. For the first couple of laps, the walls are frightening, but you soon get used to them."

The drivers will return to the track for qualifying at 10.30am local time on Saturday.


1 Paulo Montin (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) 1m11.610s
2 Narain Karthikeyan (Dallara F300 Mugen Honda) 1m11.686s
3 Patrick Friesacher (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) 1m11.979s
4 Ryo Fukuda (Dallara F399 Sodemo Renault) 1m12.161s
5 Derek Hayes (Dallara F300 Mugen Honda) 1m12.302s
6 Gianmaria Bruni (Dallara F300 Mugen Honda) 1m12.366s
7 Zsolt Baumgartner (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) 1m12.529s
8 Sebastien Philippe (Dallara F399 Sodemo Renault) 1m12.549s
9 Enrico Toccacelo (Dallara F300 Spiess Opel) 1m12.661s
10 Alex Yoong (Dallara F399 Spiess Opel) 1m12.954s

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