Vasiliauskas fastest in free practice one, then crashes
Kazim Vasiliauskas has set the pace for the first time this season in the opening free practice session at Monza.
The Lithuanian completed the quickest lap in the final five minutes, shortly before his session ended with a spin at turn one. Kazim was a consistent frontrunner during the opening stages and he managed to head the field with a late push. He then made a final attempt to better his own benchmark, but he outbraked himself at turn one and spun on entry to the tight chicane. He unfortunately stalled the car and was unable to contest the final moments, although his time remained at the top of the timesheets.
Vasiliauskas has happy memories of Italy having taken his maiden F2 victory at Imola last season, and the youngster is eager to get his 2010 championship charge in full swing this weekend.
Mihai Marinescu expressed his own 'special' relationship with Monza having fallen in love with motorsport whilst watching the Italian Grand Prix here back in 1999. The Romanian has since contested several races at the circuit in both Formula BMW and Formula Renault, and his experience paid off in free practice. The 21-year-old topped the times for much of the session, before having to settle for second at the finish.
|F2 drivers on the old and dangerous Monza banking|
Lukoil-backed Sergey Afanasiev has scored points in every race so far this season, including a podium at Silverstone, and the young Russian continued his good form here today by securing third - just 0.006s behind Marinescu.
An incredible run of closely fought times continued down the order as less than three tenths of a second separated second through to tenth. Championship leader Philipp Eng pipped Johan Jokinen to fourth, whilst Jolyon Palmer took sixth from Benjamin Bailly by seven thousandths of a second. Nicola De Marco, Will Bratt and Paul Rees rounded out the top ten.
Ajith Kumar endured a tough session as the Indian crashed out midway through the 30 minutes of running. He ran wide at the exit of Ascari before being spat back across the circuit as he tried to correct the car. He made contact with the barrier on the inside of the track - ending his session on the spot. Plamen Kralev spun out of the action in the final minute, whilst Jack Clarke was one of a number of drivers who continued after overshooting a chicane.
1. Kazim Vasiliauskas, 1:41.950s
2. Mihai Marinescu, +0.374s
3. Sergey Afanasiev, +0.380s
4. Philipp Eng, +0.459s
5. Johan Jokinen, +0.481s
6. Jolyon Palmer, +0.516s
7. Benjamin Bailly, +0.523s
8. Nicola De Marco, +0.533s
9. Will Bratt, +0.584s
10. Paul Rees, +0.636s