Fukuzumi on top for opening free practice

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Nirei Fukuzumi has nabbed the top spot in the opening free practice session of the 2017 GP3 Series this afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, leading the way for almost the entire session with a lap of 1:35.933 despite a last minute challenge from Arjun Maini and Marcos Seibert.

With the session opening under scorching conditions the lessons learned at the recent 2 day test, held in much colder conditions, were not going to help as much as was hoped, leading the entire grid to head out onto the circuit as soon as the lights went green. Ryan Tveter and Maini set the initial pace before Fukuzumi grabbed the top spot just 8 minutes into the session, holding on all the way to the flag.

With the top 4 places held by the Honda development driver and his ART Grand Prix teammates, attention turned to race simulations in preparation for tomorrow’s Race 1 for the majority of the session. It was only in the final 5 minutes that the drivers were let off the leash, with Tveter and Niko Kari pushing hard but struggling in the final sector.

With Fukuzumi more than four tenths ahead of George Russell the rest of the field was effectively fighting for P2, with the competition heating up as the clock wound down: Leonardo Pulcini grabbed 2nd with 2 minutes remaining, only to be usurped as the chequered flag dropped by first Seibert and then Maini on the last lap of the day.

Despite the Japanese driver’s strong push there were 13 drivers within a second of his best time, suggesting the fight for pole position in tomorrow morning’s qualifying session will be as fierce as ever.

Free Practice Classification

 Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Nirei Fukuzumi

ART Grand Prix

1:35.933

17

2.

Arjun Maini

Jenzer Motorsport

1:36.286

20

3.

Marcos Siebert

Campos Racing

1:36.293

18

4.

Leonardo Pulcini

Arden International

1:36.352

17

5.

George Russell

ART Grand Prix

1:36.382

17

6.

Jack Aitken

ART Grand Prix

1:36.386

17

7.

Niko Kari

Arden International

1:36.431

17

8.

Ryan Tveter

Trident

1:36.441

14

9.

Steijn Schothorst

Arden International

1:36.455

17

10.

Raoul Hyman

Campos Racing

1:36.517

20

11.

Santino Ferrucci

DAMS

1:36.521

18

12.

Anthoine Hubert

ART Grand Prix

1:36.619

18

13.

Kevin Jörg

Trident

1:36.669

16

14.

Bruno Baptista

DAMS

1:37.047

17

15.

Giuliano Alesi

Trident

1:37.254

14

16.

Dorian Boccolacci

Trident

1:37.488

18

17.

Julien Falchero

Campos Racing

1:37.570

20

18.

Tatiana Calderon

DAMS

1:37.606

19

19.

Alessio Lorandi

Jenzer Motorsport

1:38.227

16

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