GP2: Grosjean fastest in free practice

Romain Grosjean has set the pace in free practice at his home circuit of Magny-Cours this morning, taking the top spot by less that two tenths from Andreas Zuber and Javier Villa.

The Frenchman's best lap time of 1:22.676 was set just after changing to his second set of tires, with his rivals unable to match his pace for the remainder of the session or, indeed, Villa's time, which was set in the opening minutes before he put his car into the wall at turn 3, putting him out of the session on the spot.

The session took place under ominously heavy clouds, but the top drivers were immediately on the pace and setting faster times than last year. Andy Soucek, Giorgio Pantano and Zuber were the early pacesetters, but further back a number of drivers were pushing over the limit: Pastor Maldonado had a number of off track excursions, along with Alberto Valerio and Villa, who at least set a fast time before finding the wall.

After running baseline laps on his first set of tires Grosjean made the change and was instantly on the pace, claiming the top spot with 12 minutes remaining and just as Soucek spun into retirement at turn 12. Bruno Senna was determined to catch his rival but spun off the last curb and briefly stopped just ahead of the finish line, putting paid to his chances, while teammate Karun Chandhok and Giorgio Pantano also spun at the close of the session as they looked to improve their times.

Rounding out the top ten were Pantano, Maldonado, Vitaly Petrov, Roldan Rodriguez, Lucas di Grassi, Soucek and Senna. With 17 drivers within a second of Grosjean's best time, there promises to be even more excitement to come in qualifying later this afternoon.

Magny-Cours – Free Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Romain Grosjean ART Grand Prix 1:22.676 16
2. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports 1:22.834 16
3. Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:22.874 5
4. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering 1:22.892 12
5. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports 1:23.092 16
6. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:23.171 16
7. Roldan Rodriguez Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:23.173 19
8. Lucas di Grassi Barwa Int. Campos Team 1:23.213 15
9. Andy Soucek Super Nova Racing 1:23.238 9
10. Bruno Senna iSport International 1:23.274 18
11. Alvaro Parente Super Nova Racing 1:23.293 16
12. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dams 1:23.337 18
13. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:23.346 18
14. Luca Filippi ART Grand Prix 1:23.353 15
15. Sébastien Buemi Trust Team Arden 1:23.353 18
16. KarunChandhok iSport International 1:23.392 15
17. Mike Conway Trident Racing 1:23.474 15
18. Diego Nunes DPR 1:23.915 18
19. Yelmer Buurman Trust Team Arden 1:23.997 17
20 Ho-Pin Tung Trident Racing 1:24.073 18
21. Ben Hanley Durango 1:24.340 17
22. AdrianValles BCN Competicion 1:24.392 16
23. Alberto Valerio Durango 1:24.506 16
24. Marko Asmer Fisichella Motor Sport Int. 1:24.918 12
25 Michael Herck DPR 1:25.757 16
26. Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion 1:27.898 11

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