Marussia Manor Racing's Tio Ellinas quickest in Free Practice Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas set the initial pace in the opening session for Round 7 of the 2012 GP3 Series at the Spa Francorchamps circuit. Carlin's Antonio Felix Da Costa was second, with Lotus GP's Daniel Abt third.
The forty-five minute practice got underway with cool track temperatures of 13 degrees as the rain hammered down on and off through the session. Matias Laine and Robert Visoiu were first out to test track conditions as the GP3 Series returned to on track action after the summer break.
The Carlin drivers of Felix Da Costa and William Buller took turns of heading the standings in the early part of the session with Abt and the third Carlin of Alex Brundle also in the mix. The session was red flagged when Atech CRS GP returnee and home favorite, John Wartique, spun during the challenging Eau Rouge corner. The Belgian driver made contact with the tire barrier which caused a premature end to his session.
When practice resumed, Felix Da Costa topped the timesheets, with a seven tenths advantage over Abt. The Carlin driver looked set to end the session in P1 until Ellinas who had been progressing up the standings, put in a flier in the final minute and ended practice fastest when the checkered flag was waved.
The session finished with Ellinas a mere 0.043s faster than Felix Da Costa and 0.104s ahead of Abt. Conor Daly was fourth in front of Brundle, Aaro Vainio, Mitch Evans, Laine, Lewis Williamson and Alex Fontana.
Qualifying takes place at 09.45 CET tomorrow morning.
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