Sebastien Loeb Racing came out on top in this morning’s test session at Circuito De Navarra in preparation for this weekend’s penultimate event in the 2013 FIA GT Series season.
Alvaro Parente set a best time of 1m39.759s in a very close 210-minute session in warm and cloudy conditions. The Portuguese driver loves the 3.933kms 25-turn Navarra circuit having had several top results last season including a dominant Blancpain Endurance Series win last October. He did the majority of the running in the McLaren MP4-12C this morning.
Michael Bartels was satisfied with his team – Vita4one Racing’s start to the weekend as Yelmer Buurman claimed the second fastest lap time on 1m39.772s, just two-hundredths behind the Loeb McLaren. Buurman will share the BMW Z4 with Karun Chandhok who moves across from the Seyffarth squad.
“I only did three runs today but I was interesting to get an understanding of the BMW, which along with the track is completely new to me,” said former HRT and Lotus F1 driver, Chandhok. “The characteristics of the BMW and the Mercedes that I have been driving all season are very different indeed. The BMW is a shorter wheelbase car and also a lot lighter than the Mercedes. It also has different downforce levels of course so it will take more time for me to get up to speed but I will have more track time tomorrow in the two free practice sessions.”
Another new face to the FIA GT Series paddock is Von Ryan Racing who got started brightly with third fastest time overall and quickest in Pro-Am. Duncan Tappy re-enforced his reputation as one of the most exciting GT drivers around to peak with a 1m39.818s lap. He shares the newly built McLaren MP4-12C with French team mate, Gregoire Demoustier.
Several new drivers to the FIA GT Series this weekend starred in the morning test session with former GP2 race winner, Michael Ammermuller settling in nicely at Team Novadriver.
“Today it is a bit hard to say actually because you never know which tyres the other cars have, but at the moment I think that we are looking quite good,” said the bespectacled German. “We have no problem with the Audi R8 LMS and it feels very similar to the other Audi GT3 cars that I know of and have driven. I believe that we have a good balance already for this weekend.”
The Free Practice session for the fifth race weekend FIA GT Series starts at 10.00am tomorrow morning. You can follow live timing at http://www.fiagtseries.com/pages/live
Also get all the latest news as it happens using #EspanaGT at www.twitter.com/FIAGTSeries
Friday Test Times
Pos Cl Driver Team/Car Time
1. PRO Parente/Loeb Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren 1m39.759s
2. PRO Buurman/Chandhok Vita4one BMW Z4 1m39.772s
3. PRO-AM Tappy/Demoustier Von Ryan McLaren 1m39.818s
4. PRO Ortelli/Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1m39.933s
5. PRO-AM Campanico/Ammermuller Team Novadriver Audi 1m39.969s
6. PRO Day/Dusseldorp HTP Gravity Charouz Mercedes 1m40.062s
7. PAM Proczyk/Tweraser GRT Grasser Lamborghini 1m40.239s
8. PRO Zuber/Parisy Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren 1m40.264s
9. PRO Bueno/Khodair BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil 1m40.291s
10. PRO Rosina/Basseng Reiter Lamborghini 1m40.306s
11. PRO-AM Ebrahim/Sladecka BMW India 1m40.411s
12. PRO Abreu/Jimenez BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil 1m40.466s
13. PRO Simonsen/Afanasiev HTP Gravity Charouz Mercedes 1m40.581s
14. PRO-AM Stumpf/Cunha ACL by Rodrive Lamborghini 1m40.859s
15. PRO AM Ordonez/Buncombe Nissan GT Academy 1m40.985s
16. PRO AM Doherty/Reip Nissan GT Academy 1m41.354s