Leimer on top in soaking Spa practice

Fabio Leimer has got the season restarted in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning's very wet free practice session at Spa Francorchamps, ignoring the miserable conditions to lead home Nigel Melker and Johnny Cecotto by almost a second in a red flag affected session.

The Swiss driver set the best time of 2:22.580 with six minutes remaining in the session, while his Dutch rival crossed the line just behind him on track, but 0.960 seconds behind on the stopwatch: when Cecotto lost his rear at Pouhon in the treacherous conditions one minute later, the red flags were out and the session was over.

With heavy rain falling for most of the morning, the session was delayed for five minutes while the marshals made a few last minute safety checks, but the weather was too grim to expect much in the way of sparks. Lotus duo James Calado and Esteban Gutierrez set the early running as most of the field ran wide or spun somewhere as they pushed to the edge of the conditions.

Title rivals Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi squabbled over the top spot as the clock rolled on until Cecotto and then Leimer stole it from them: the early end to the session saw Razia, Valsecchi, Marcus Ericsson, Calado, Victor Guerin, Stefano Coletti and Gutierrez line up behind the top three, all of whom should be in contention in this afternoon's qualifying session.

Spa-Francorchamps – Free Practice

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 2:22.580 8
2. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 2:23.540 7
3. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 2:23.911 8
4. Luiz Razia Arden International 2:24.292 10
5. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 2:24.394 9
6. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 2:24.665 7
7. James Calado Lotus GP 2:25.145 8
8. Victor Guerin Ocean Racing Technology 2:25.330 7
9. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 2:25.431 8
10. Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus GP 2:25.540 8
11. Felipe Nasr DAMS 2:25.957 9
12. Julian Leal Trident Racing 2:25.961 8
13. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 2:25.969 7
14. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 2:26.226 6
15. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 2:26.687 8
16. Rio Haryanto Carlin 2:26.841 8
17. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 2:27.804 6
18. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 2:27.945 8
19 Simon Trummer Arden International 2:28.078 7
20. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team 2:28.639 7
21. Max Chilton Carlin 2:28.751 8
22. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 2:30.324 9
23. Sergio Canamasas Venezuela GP Lazarus 2:30.461 7
24. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 2:31.938 7
25. Daniel De Jong Rapax 2:33.864 5
26. René Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 2:34.328 7

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