Giovanni Venturini was the quickest on the opening session of the 2011 Auto GP season, topping the sheets with a 1'36"629 with new tires: it was an impressive performance from the Griffitz Durango driver considering that the 2010 pole (posted by Romain Grosjean) is just half a second adrift. Just 0"1 behind Venturini was Onidi, boasting a great drive on used tires. Onidi was also the only expert driver mixing it up with rookies: the 4 other drivers of the top 5 are all Under 21 indeed, and this is the first hint of how close will be the battle in the special Under 21 Trophy.
Behind the Lazarus driver was a good Samuele Buttarelli, already at ease with the TP Formula Car and last driver to lap under the 1'37" mark with 1'36"930. Ceccon was immediately on his tail with a 1'37"135 posted on old rubber, a clear hint that there's much more to come from him for the next sessions.
Adrien Tambay, with the Gravity-Charouz DAMS car, was just 0.05 adrift, ahead of Fabrizio Crestani, Luca Filippi and Marco Barba, first of the Campos Racing drivers ahead of team-mate Bruno Mendez. Closing the top 10 was the SuperNova car of Adrian Zaugg: the South African driver found an agreement with the team just a few days ago, but despite this he has what it takes to be among top contenders.
Behind the top 10 were the drivers who decided to take a more cautious approach to the first practice: Adrian Campos Jr. was 11th ahead of Rio Haryanto, Giuseppe Cipriani, Francesco Dracone and Pasquale Di Sabatino. Behind them was Sergei Afanasiev, who had a little off (with no consequences for the car) and completed just 4 laps.
Giovanni Venturini: "I'm really happy because I used the first part of the session to run in some parts. The we did put new tires and achieving that time was really easy. Furthermore the track was still a bit dirty, so we can improve a lot".
Fabio Onidi: "I'm really satisfied with this session, we took the right direction from the start and this is really important. After our fist outing we immediately did some changes and they proved to be right, so we have to keep working like this".
Samuele Buttarelli: "It was a really good start, my lap time could have been even better as I had to slow down to avoid a car coming out of the pits. I'm sure that in the second session I'll be much quicker".
Free Practice 1
1. Giovanni Venturini Griffitz Durango 1'36"629 2. Fabio Onidi Lazarus 1'36"740 3. Samuele Buttarelli TP Formula 1'36"930 4. Kevin Ceccon Ombra Racing 1'37"135 5. Adrien Tambay Gravity-Charouz DAMS 1'37"174 6. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1'37"250 7. Luca Filippi SuperNova Racing 1'37"459 8. Marco Barba Campos Racing 1'37"745 9. Bruno Mendez Campos Racing 1'37"774 10. Adrian Zaugg SuperNova Racing 1'38"048 11. Adrian Campos Jr. Campos Racing 1'38"260 12. Rio Haryanto DAMS 1'38"427 13. Giuseppe Cipriani Griffitz Durango 1'39"407 14. Francesco Dracone Emmebi Motorsport 1'40"560 15. Pasquale Di Sabatino Ombra Racing 1'41"806 16. Sergei Afanasiev DAMS 1'42"045
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