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Jun 20, 2014 - 04:30 PM
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Strong Start For Carlin With Leal Quickest In Austria
Posted by: newsla on Jun 20, 2014 - 04:29 PM
GP2 News
Strong Start For Carlin With Leal Quickest In Austria


It was a strong start to the GP2 Series race weekend in Austria this morning for Carlin with Julian Leal topping the one and only free practice session in the final few minutes around the Red Bull Ring. The Colombian racer had been consistently quick throughout the majority of the greasy session however completed a brilliant lap to set the fastest time when it mattered most. Team mate Felipe Nasr had dominated in the opening half however with rain falling in the final few minutes he set the fourth quickest time to end his session. Neither Carlin men have previous experience of the Red Bull Ring and now look to replicate their strong showing during this afternoon’s qualifying.

 

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As the Formula One cars made their way back to the circuit at the conclusion of their session it was clear enough that rain was on the way; and as the GP2 cars took to the track the skies were getting greyer and the rain soon followed. While the shower remained light, allowing the drivers to continue on their slick tyres, it still caused some small problems for a few drivers as they became used to the greasy track conditions.

In the opening half of the session it was Nasr who was asserting his speed around the Austrian circuit setting an array of fast laps to see him as the driver to beat. The Brazilian racer made sure to place his Carlin car at the top of the leader board and continued to better his own times. Leal was also building up his speed throughout and was running consistently in the top 10.

By this point the track had begun to dry out somewhat and the times dropped further as a result. With a quick dive in to the pits complete, both Carlin men continued on their way to complete more of their programme and gain further experience around a track where neither had prior experience.

Up until this point the on track action had been fairly subdued however a close call for Nasr, in which Facu Regalia almost clipped him as they entered the final corner, ruined what could have been another dominant lap. Nasr pulled away from the Hilmer driver and made sure he bettered his time the next lap around.

In the closing few minutes Leal began to make his move; the Carlin man had been running in fifth by this point, with his team mate in second. However a blistering lap saw him jump to the very top - this lap was unable to be bettered by anyone else and Leal remained to clinch the fastest time of the 45 minute session.

Leal said of his session, ‘It was a really good session for the whole team and especially for me. It felt good in the beginning part on track and we were running in the top ten then we came in to the pits and made a few little changes. The car just felt perfect around here and although we’ll continue to work hard up until qualifying I’m feeling very happy and think we can enjoy a very good afternoon here in Austria. It’s always nice to be fast but to do it at a track like this where we haven’t been before is even better.’

Nasr meanwhile was on a quick lap in the dying moments however as rain began to fall over the circuit again he was forced to back out of it and ended the session in fourth overall. He said, ‘I had a very good feeling at the start of the practice session and we were up on the pace which was really good for a track that we have never been to before. I continued to set fast laps until we came into the pits at the mid stage. Then we fell down the order a little but we were able to push back up again. Then unfortunately the rain fell towards the end and I had to back out of my lap however I’m very happy with the car and I’m feeling confident.’

Qualifying for the first GP2 Feature Race in Austria takes place later this afternoon at 15.55 local time.

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