German driver tops both free practice sessions
Tobias Hegewald topped both free practice sessions at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, today (Friday) to take early control of FIA Formula Two Championship weekend at the legendary venue.
Hegewald led the way in the first practice session after setting a time of 2:10.110s, with a comfortable margin over Mikhail Aleshin and Alex Brundle. In the second session Aleshin damaged his car after making contact with the barriers, whilst Brundle improved to set the second fastest time ahead of Julien Jousse.
Experienced Spaniard Andy Soucek, who has taken podiums at Spa-Francorchamps in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5, was fourth in both sessions. Behind him there were strong showings from the likes of Milos Pavlovic, Henry Surtees and Philipp Eng, whilst Robert Wickens guided his car to eighth in each session.
Championship leader Mirko Bortolotti could only manage 15th in the opening session, but improved to tenth as practice drew to a close. On his birthday Carlos Iaconelli claimed fifth spot in opening practice, but fell to 18th in the second session.
Tobias Hegewald said: "I am happy with the way things have been going so far today, and I just hope I can do the same in qualifying. I have driven here many times and I have a good feeling with the car and the circuit. I am sure it will be very close and I will have to fight hard in qualifying, but I am looking forward to it. This is my favourite circuit, so I am hoping for some good times this weekend.
Alex Brundle said: "I am obviously happy to show my pace. There is still a lot of work to do for qualifying, but I am happy with the set-up and with this being such a long lap, there is always more time you can gain as a driver. I will see what I can do but I will just keep driving the car the way I am – everything seems to be working and I hope to take some points away from the weekend."
Julien Jousse: "We have worked really hard on set-up as you have to find the right compromise with the fast straights and corners here. We have worked hard and I have learnt a lot, so I am feeling quite good for qualifying. To be towards the top always feels good, but conditions will change and it will be a lot cooler late this afternoon so we will just have to see what happens."
Drivers will return to the circuit at 16:50 later today for the opening qualifying session of the weekend, with rain having just begun to fall in the Ardennes forest.