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DATE News (chronologically)
06/24/11
gp2
Bianchi steals top spot in practice
Jules Bianchi stole an early march on his rivals by claiming the fastest lap on a final dash for the flag on the last lap in this morning's free practice, pushing countryman Romain Grosjean down the timesheets as Bianchi greeted the checkered flag at the end of the session ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Luca Filippi.

Bianchi's best time of 1:47.681 was less than a tenth ahead of the Dutchman, but it will give the Frenchman hope that he can put his early season troubles behind him as he looks to close down the points difference in the Series tables, as well as on the time sheets.

The session got under way in hot conditions but under a blanket of cloud as Lotus ART teammate Esteban Gutierrez set the early pace, but Series leader Grosjean soon resumed normal service by taking the top spot for himself: when Josef Kral spun and stalled at turn 14 the red flags were out immediately, denying the opportunity for a fight back as everyone returned to the pits for new tires.

When the track went green again everyone set about cutting into the Frenchman's lap time, with Sam Bird, Gutierrez and Christian Vietoris all giving Grosjean something to consider, but when Pal Varhaug stopped at turn 14 the red flags looked to have brought an early end to the session: however, happily the track was clear with 3 minutes remaining, handing everyone one last chance for glory.

Grosjean was the first man on track but was held up by late pitlane exiters next time round: everyone else was running faster than before and it was Bianchi who claimed the one lap honors, ahead of van der Garde and Filippi. Grosjean had to accept P4, ahead of Charles Pic, Dani Clos, Bird and Gutierrez, all of whom will be looking for revenge in this afternoon's qualifying session at the technically demanding circuit.

Valencia – Free Practice
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:47.681 12
2. Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:47.736 11
3. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 1:48.114 9
4. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:48.189 10
5. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:48.206 10
6. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:48.308 11
7. Sam Bird iSport International 1:48.456 9
8. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 1:48.484 12
9. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:48.520 11
10. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:48.707 10
11. Max Chilton Carlin 1:48.800 11
12. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1:48.881 11
13. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:48.931 11
14. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:48.960 9
15. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:49.146 10
16. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:49.650 11
17. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:49.759 10
18. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:49.805 11
19 Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:50.056 9
20. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 1:50.229 10
21. Pal Varhaug Dams 1:50.412 7
22. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:50.997 11
23. Julian Leal Rapax 1:51.238 10
24. Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology 1:51.567 11
25. Josef Kral Arden International 1:59,.074 3
26. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:59.640 9
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