Red Bull junior Souta Arao set the quickest time across Friday’s free practice sessions for the latest GB3 round at Spa-Francorchamps.
Arao set a best lap of 2m14.392s in the second of three sessions to lead FP1 pacesetter McKenzy Cresswell by 0.071 seconds, with Arao’s Hitech GP team-mate Alex Dunne third.
Arden VRD’s Nico Christodoulou set an early benchmark of 2m15.549s in the opening session before laptimes tumbled. Douglas Motorsport’s Tymek Kucharczyk moved to the top late on, but it was Cresswell that ended quickest with a 2m14.422s, with Arao getting within 0.041s of the Elite Motorsport driver.
Dunne improved to edge Kucharczyk to third, with the pair both within a quarter of a second of the pace. Hillspeed’s Gerrard Xie, who raced at Spa last weekend in Euroformula, was fifth ahead of Hitech’s Michael Shin.
Laptimes were over a second off the pace in the early stages of session two, with Dunne initially quickest from Arao. Points leader Joseph Loake then moved ahead for JHR Developments before being beaten by Cresswell and Fortec Motorsports’ Max Esterson.
Arao then set the best lap of the day inside the final five minutes, with Dunne also improving to second ahead of Cresswell and Kucharczyk. Rodin Carlin’s John Bennett edged Esterson to sixth, with 0.8s covering the top 13 drivers.
Only Christodoulou and Douglas driver Shawn Rashid improved on their best laps in the final session, which was brought to a premature end when Arden’s James Hedley stopped on track at turn three. Dunne headed that session by 0.142s with a 2m14.820s lap, with Kucharczyk, Cresswell, Callum Voisin and Arao separated by 0.1s behind him.
Free practice results
|1||Souta Arao||Hitech GP||2m14.392s||42|
|2||McKenzy Cresswell||Elite Motorsport||2m14.463s||+0.071s||44|
|3||Alex Dunne||Hitech GP||2m14.592s||+0.200s||43|
|4||Timoteusz Kucharczyk||Douglas Motorsport||2m14.681s||+0.289s||45|
|6||Max Esterson||Fortec Motorsports||2m14.853s||+0.461s||44|
|9||Michael Shin||Hitech GP||2m15.067s||+0.675s||42|
|10||Edward Pearson||Fortec Motorsports||2m15.073s||+0.681s||49|
|12||Matthew Rees||JHR Developments||2m15.199s||+0.807s||47|
|13||Nico Christodoulou||Arden VRD||2m15.204s||+0.812s||44|
|14||Joseph Loake||JHR Developments||2m15.230s||+0.838s||46|
|15||James Hedley||Arden VRD||2m15.252s||+0.860s||43|
|16||Jarrod Waberski||Fortec Motorsports||2m15.264s||+0.872s||49|
|17||Lucas Staico||Douglas Motorsport||2m15.440s||+1.048s||48|
|18||Arthur Rogeon||Chris Dittmann Racing||2m15.598s||+1.206s||47|
|19||Ayato Iwasaki||Elite Motorsport||2m15.730s||+1.338s||48|
|20||David Morales||JHR Developments||2m15.886s||+1.494s||46|
|21||Noah Ping||Arden VRD||2m15.978s||+1.586s||44|
|22||Zak Taylor||Chris Dittmann Racing||2m16.107s||+1.715s||46|
|23||Oliver Stewart||Elite Motorsport||2m16.351s||+1.959s||41|
|25||Shawn Rashid||Douglas Motorsport||2m17.345s||+2.953s||46|