Engel on top in Monza Free Practice

The majority of the drivers in the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series got their first taste of the ultra fast circuit at the Autodroma Nazionale Monza during the 45-minute Free Practice session this morning.Maro Engel (#23 Carlin Motorsport) set the fastest time of the morning with a 1m47.560 lap at the end of the session.

Engel has never raced in a Formula 3 car at the home of the Italian Grand Prix but he has raced in Euro F3000, so has some experience of the circuit unlike the driver who was second fastest, Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing).

The Finn was just 0.035 seconds adrift of Engel and 0.269 seconds ahead of the third fastest driver Alberto Valerio (#22 Carlin Motorsport). Championship leader Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) was fourth fastest and the last driver to be inside the 2005 British F3 lap record set by that year’s champion Alvaro Parente (1m48.149). Asmer, along with Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing), took part in the three British F3 races held at Monza two years ago.

Jelley was fifth, just a head of race winners Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) and Niall Breen (#21 Carlin Motorsport). Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport) was 8th, ahead of Kennard and his Fortec teammate Greg Mansell (#50 Fortec Motorsport), who rounded out the top 10.

Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport) was the fastest National Class runner, with the Mexican finishing the 45-minute session 0.263 seconds ahead of his championship rival ‘Frankie’ Cheng (#39 Performance Racing). Double race National Class race winner Mike Meadows (#55 Newnet Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was third quickest, just ahead Hamad Al Fardan (#38 Performance Racing) and Alex Waters (#34 Promatecme).

Albert Costa (#36 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) didn’t complete a lap after his car suffered clutch failure at the start of the session. Salman Al Khalifa (#77 Promatecme) will not be taking any part in this weekends event.

Qualifying for Round 9 is due to start at 15.15 (local time), with the second 30-minute qualifying session to determine the grid for Round 10 taking place at 17:30.

FREE PRACTICE

1 – 23 – C – Maro ENGEL – GER – 1:47.560 21laps

2 – 26 – C – Atte MUSTONEN – FIN – 1:47.595 – 21 – +0.035

3 – 22 – C – Alberto VALERIO – BRA – 1:47.864 – 22 – +0.304

4 – 7 – C – Marko ASMER – EST – 1:47.988 – 21 – +0.428

5 – 1 – C – Stephen JELLEY – GBR – 1:48.263 – 21 + 0.703

6 – 3 – C – Sam BIRD – GBR – 1:48.388 – 17 – +0.828

7 – 21 – C – Niall BREEN – IRL – 1:48.439 – 22 – +0.879

8 – 5 – C – Sebastian HOHENTHAL – SWE – 1:48.651 – 23 – +1.091

9 – 2 – C – Jonathan KENNARD – GBR – 1:48.938 – 17 – +1.378

10 – 50 – C – Greg MANSELL – GBR – 1:48.946 – 22 – +1.386

11 – 15 – C – Michael DEVANEY – IRL – 1:48.957 – 16 – +1.397

12 – 4 – C – Mario MORAES – BRA – 1:48.978 – 20 – +1.418

13 – 31 – N – Sergio PEREZ – MEX – 1:48.983 – 21 – +1.423

14 – 6 – C – Walter GRUBMULLER – AUT – 1:49.062 – 22 – +1.502

15 – 24 – C – John MARTIN – AUS – 1:49.136 – 17 – +1.576

16 – 39 – N – CHENG Cong Fu – CHN – 1:49.246 – 23 – +1.686

17 – 14 – C – Esteban GUERRIERI – ARG – 1:49.294 – 16 – +1.734

18 – 62 – I – Matteo CHINOSI – ITA – 1:49.715 – 22 – +2.155

19 – 16 – C – Max CHILTON – GBR – 1:49.716 – 22 – +2.156

20 – 55 – N – Michael MEADOWS – GBR – 1:50.118 – 23 – +2.558

21 – 38 – N – Hamad AL FARDAN – BHR – 1:50.527 – 24 – +2.967

22 – 34 – N – Alex WATERS – GBR – 1:50.639 – 20 – +3.079

23 – 44 – C – Leo MANSELL – GBR – 1:50.707 – 21 – +3.147

24 – 69 – I – Dominick MUERMANS – NED – 1:50.832 – 20 – +3.272

25 – 63 – I – Federico GLORIOSO – ITA – 1:50.903 – 24 – +3.343

26 – 10 – C – Ricardo TEIXEIRA – ANG – 1:51.062 – 22 – +3.502

27 – 35 – N – Alistair JACKSON – GBR – 1:51.525 – 22 – +3.965

28 – 9 – C – Rodolfo GONZALEZ – VEN – 1:51.596 – 3 – +4.036

29 – 37 – N – Viktor JENSEN – ISL – 1:51.644 – 19 – +4.084

30 – 33 – N – Juan Pablo GARCIA SAMANO – MEX – 1:51.713 – 18 – +4.153

31 – 12 – C – Sean PETTERSON – RSA – Lola B06-30 Mugen-Honda – 1:53.770 – 10 – +6.210

32 – 8 – C – Francesco CASTELLACCI – ITA – 1:59.676 – 3 – +12.116