Bird fastest in Imola practice

iSport's Sam Bird was quickest as the GP2 Asia field got up to speed at Imola with two practice sessions on Friday morning

Bird fastest in Imola practice

An additional half hour of running was provided for the GP2 teams' return to the former San Marino Grand Prix venue for the first time since 2006 - Imola having stepped in when the political turmoil in Bahrain led to the cancellation of both the planned Sakhir events.

Times tumbled throughout the morning as both track conditions and drivers' circuit familiarity improved, with Bird ending up on a 1m28.312s.

Addax driver Giedo van der Garde had been quickest ahead of Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin in the first of the two sessions and was second to Bird in the second, 0.2 seconds slower.

Fabio Leimer took third for Rapax in both sessions.

Championship leader Jules Bianchi (ART) was only 14th and 20th in the two sessions - but still fare better than his nearest points rivals, as incidents for both DAMS' Romain Grosjean and iSport's Marcus Ericsson in first practice sidelined them for session two while their cars were repaired. ART's Esteban Gutierrez also crashed right at the end of the second session.

GP2 veteran Luca Filippi has returned to race for Coloni this weekend in place of James Jakes, who was testing Dale Coyne Racing's IndyCar at Barbers Motorsports Park earlier this week. Filippi was 12th in first practice but sat out the later session with a mechanical issue.

Practice one: Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m29.095s 2. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m29.379s + 0.284s 3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m29.443s + 0.348s 4. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m29.486s + 0.391s 5. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m29.487s + 0.392s 6. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean 1m29.600s + 0.505s 7. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m29.604s + 0.509s 8. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m29.740s + 0.645s 9. Julian Leal Rapax 1m29.784s + 0.689s 10. Michael Herck Coloni 1m29.901s + 0.806s 11. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m29.954s + 0.859s 12. Luca Filippi Coloni 1m29.988s + 0.893s 13. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m30.010s + 0.915s 14. Jules Bianchi ART 1m30.106s + 1.011s 15. Josef Kral Arden 1m30.191s + 1.096s 16. Max Chilton Carlin 1m30.216s + 1.121s 17. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m30.225s + 1.130s 18. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m30.311s + 1.216s 19. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m30.479s + 1.384s 20. Oliver Turvey Ocean 1m30.507s + 1.412s 21. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova 1m30.880s + 1.785s 22. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m32.373s + 3.278s 23. Charles Pic Addax 1m32.475s + 3.380s 24. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m32.787s + 3.692s 25. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1m32.859s + 3.764s 26. Sam Bird iSport 1m33.041s + 3.946s Practice two: Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sam Bird iSport 1m28.312s 2. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m28.515s + 0.203s 3. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m28.566s + 0.254s 4. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m28.584s + 0.272s 5. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m28.585s + 0.273s 6. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m28.646s + 0.334s 7. Max Chilton Carlin 1m28.694s + 0.382s 8. Michael Herck Coloni 1m28.762s + 0.450s 9. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m28.894s + 0.582s 10. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m28.901s + 0.589s 11. Johnny Cecotto Super Nova 1m28.931s + 0.619s 12. Charles Pic Addax 1m28.961s + 0.649s 13. Josef Kral Arden 1m29.084s + 0.772s 14. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m29.292s + 0.980s 15. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin 1m29.293s + 0.981s 16. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m29.341s + 1.029s 17. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m29.410s + 1.098s 18. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m29.437s + 1.125s 19. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m29.672s + 1.360s 20. Jules Bianchi ART 1m29.762s + 1.450s 21. Andrea Caldarelli Ocean 1m29.885s + 1.573s 22. Oliver Turvey Ocean 1m29.927s + 1.615s 23. Julian Leal Rapax 1m30.422s + 2.110s 
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