Title favourite Palmer tops Sochi practice

by Paul Hensby

Jolyon Palmer was fastest in free practice of the GP2 Series round at Sochi on a weekend where the Briton could clinch the title.

The DAMS driver was more than half a second clear of the pack in Russia, with Frenchman Arthur Pic second for Campos Racing, while Andre Negrao was an impressive third for Arden International.

Stoffel Vandoorne was on the pace early in the session for ART Grand Prix, heading the times before Palmer took over, and the Belgian eventually slipped to fourth at the end.

Russian Time driver Mitch Evans was fifth ahead of the second Campos Racing machine of Kimiya Sato, who is still searching for his first points of the season despite having clinched this seasons Auto GP World Series title.

Johnny Cecotto Jr survived a spin to set the seventh fastest time for Trident Racing ahead of Venezuela GP Lazarus driver Nathanael Berthon.

Palmer’s main championship rival Felipe Nasr was a lowly ninth for Carlin, while series returnee Tio Ellinas was tenth for Rapax as he stands in for the injured Adrian Quaife-Hobbs this weekend.

Sochi Free Practice Times

1 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS 1:46.083
2 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing 1:46.618
3 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International 1:46.623
4 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix 1:46.740
5 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time 1:46.763
6 Kimiya Sato JAP Campos Racing 1:46.781
7 Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Trident Racing 1:46.889
8 Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:47.027
9 Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin 1:47.123
10 Tio Ellinas CYP Rapax 1:47.359
11 Jon Lancaster GBR Hilmer Motorsport 1:47.394
12 Rio Haryanto INO Caterham Racing 1:47.452
13 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix 1:47.474
14 Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering 1:47.589
15 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering 1:47.667
16 Marco Sorensen DEN MP Motorsport 1:47.672
17 Pierre Gasly FRA Caterham Racing 1:47.702
18 Sergio Canamasas ESP Trident Racing 1:47.857
19 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport 1:47.862
20 Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS 1:47.882
21 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax 1:47.903
22 Rene Binder AUT Arden International 1:47.965
23 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport 1:48.276
24 Julian Leal COL Carlin 1:48.508
25 Sergio Campana ITA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:48.623
26 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time 1:48.707


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