Published on September 30th, 2016 | by Amirul Mukminin0
PREMA Racing Sets Benchmark in GP2 Series in Sepang
The dynamic duo of PREMA Racing – Frenchman Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy set the pace in the GP2 Series at the 2016 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang yesterday as they simply outpaced their challengers, including Malaysian Nabil Jeffri, who could only finish 18th in a grid of 21 drivers.
Acknowledged as the top performers for this season, Gasly and Gioviazzi were only separated by 0.123 seconds at the top of the timesheet for the official practice session, with the Frenchman, who is leading the series with 174 points, clocking 1 minute 42.352 seconds around the 5.543-km newly-surfaced track.
Second in the championship and 10 points behind his teammate with 164 points, Giovinazzi clocked 1 minute 42.475 seconds for his best lap in the 30-minute session, which was run on a dry track under a cloudy sky.
Representing Arden International, Nabil was unhappy with his performance and vowed to return stronger tomorrow in qualifying.
“I think I know what to improve on for qualifying tomorrow. The car also needs to improve as well in terms of taking fast corners especially at Turns 5, 6, 7 and 8. I will definitely try my best tomorrow. After completing FP1 yesterday, I felt like I had not driven in Sepang for a long time. It was only after Lap 3 and 4 that the feeling of familiarity started to come back.
But the tyres had passed its peak performance,” said Nabil. Compatriot Akash Nandy had a more commendable performance in the GP3 Series, which has been incorporated in the 18th edition of the Malaysian F1 event as a support race along with the GP2 Series, TCR International and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Series.
In a field of 22 drivers, Akash, who competes under the banner of Janzer Motorsports, finished 10th on the free practice time sheet, which had championship leader Charles Leclerc of Monte only a rung higher in ninth place.
Akash clocked 1 minute 51.605 seconds for his best lap time in a 30-minute session, which was 0.722 seconds behind top finisher Jack Aitken, who clocked 1 minute 50.883 seconds. Kevin Joerg had the second fastest lap with a time of 1 minute 51.050 seconds.
Qualifying for the GP3 series will be held on Friday, 30 September 2016 at 4.50pm, directly after the qualifying session for the GP2 series, which is scheduled at 3.55pm.
Friday will also feature the official free practice for the main Formula 1 event, which will be run for two sessions at 10am for 90 minutes and at 2pm for one hour.
As part of SIC’s continual effort to promote motorsports interest amongst Malaysians, fans can catch all the action tomorrow for free from the Main Grandstand.