Julian Leal Fastest as GP2 Debuts in Austria

The first appearance of the GP2 Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria saw Colombian driver Julian Leal top free practice for Carlin. The 24-year-old set a best lap time of 1:15.652s towards the end of the session to beat Italian Raffaele Marciello into second place by 0.116s.

The session began with some light rain in the air, but once that ceased, the track rubbered in and times tumbled. Marciello’s Racing Engineering team-mate Stefano Coletti was third fastest, ahead of Leal’s team-mate Felipe Nasr, who moments before setting his time had a close call with the Hilmer Motorsport of Facu Regalia at turn 8 that the stewards are having a look at.

The race winner of the Spanish Feature race Johnny Cecotto Jr continued his strong recent form by setting the fifth fastest time for Trident Racing, just ahead of Russian Time’s Mitch Evans in sixth. Hilmer Motorsport’s Daniel Abt was seventh ahead of Austrian Rene Binder for Arden International.

ART Grand Prix’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the opening round of the season in Bahrain but has not scored a point since, was ninth quickest, just ahead of current championship leader Jolyon Palmer of DAMS who rounded out the top ten. His DAMS team-mate and Monaco feature race winner last time out Stephane Richelmi was only twelfth quickest behind Alexander Rossi in the leading EQ8 Caterham Racing machine.

Qualifying takes place later this afternoon.

Red Bull Ring Free Practice Result

1 Julian Leal COL Carlin 1:15.652
2 Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering 1:15.768
3 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering 1:15.830
4 Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin 1:15.944
5 Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Trident Racing 1:16.189
6 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time 1:16.192
7 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.300
8 Rene Binder AUT Arden International 1:16.426
9 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix 1:16.463
10 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS 1:16.502
11 Alexander Rossi USA EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:16.544
12 Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS 1:16.572
13 Sergio Canamasas ESP Trident Racing 1:16.620
14 Rio Haryanto INO EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:16.620
15 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax 1:16.721
16 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport 1:16.865
17 Conor Daly USA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:16.888
18 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing 1:16.935
19 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Rapax 1:17.104
20 Facu Regalia ARG Hilmer Motorsport 1:17.169
21 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time 1:17.171
22 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International 1:17.288
23 Tio Ellinas CYP MP Motorsport 1:17.300
24 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix 1:17.370
25 Kimiya Sato JAP Campos Racing 1:17.605
26 Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:17.785