Italian tops timesheets for first time in 2010 at home venue
Nicola De Marco set the pace in the second free practice session in Monza, the Italian setting a fantastic late lap to go fastest in the final two sectors and seal his first top spot of 2010.
De Marco’s late effort relegated Jolyon Palmer to second, Palmer having made a late surge of his own to claim the top spot with less than five minutes of the session remaining. Benjamin Bailly was third as the Belgian racer was in a particularly aggressive mood. Bailly was one of several drivers to make use of the long straights to slipstream by other competitors – he stormed by Ajith Kumar on the run down to turn one late on as he started his own flying lap.
The session ended a few seconds ahead of schedule when Russian racer Sergey Afanasiev made heavy contact with the barrier on the exit of Ascari. Afanasiev ran wide through the tricky left hander, catching the gravel on the outside and ending up in the barrier at high speed. His car eventually came to a halt back on the circuit, but the race director brought out the chequered flag with less than a minute remaining as it was impossible for any driver to improve their times.
Armaan Ebrahim enjoyed his best session of the season, as he set the fourth quickest time – just 0.015s behind Bailly. Philipp Eng led the way for much of the running, but the Austrian had to settle for fourth after the late flurry of improvements at the head of the field. Johan Jokinen took sixth ahead of Afanasiev, who set his fastest time on the lap prior to his accident.
This morning’s pace-setter Kazim Vasiliauskas could only manage eighth, ahead of Marrakech race winner Dean Stoneman and Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks.
Several runners had moments at either the turn one or turn four chicanes, with Jack Clarke in particular having a number of difficulties. The young Briton was eventually given a black and white warning flag for repeatedly straight lining the first chicane. Johan Jokinen, Natalia Kowalska, Ajith Kumar, Kazim Vasiliauskas, Ricardo Teixeira and Plamen Kralev were among those who also missed a chicane on at least one occasion.