Home Formula 3GB3 Hitech’s Arao sets GB3 practice pace at Spa

Hitech’s Arao sets GB3 practice pace at Spa

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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
Pos Driver Team Time Gaps Laps
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
5 John Bennett Carlin 2m14.828s +0.436s 49
6 Max Esterson Fortec Motorsports 2m14.853s +0.461s 44
7 Gerrard Xie Hillspeed 2m14.934s +0.542s 46
8 Callum Voisin Carlin 2m15.025s +0.633s 45
9 Michael Shin Hitech GP 2m15.067s +0.675s 42
10 Edward Pearson Fortec Motorsports 2m15.073s +0.681s 49
11 Costa Toparis Carlin 2m15.158s +0.766s 50
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
24 Daniel Mavlyutov Hillspeed 2m16.453s +2.061s 52
25 Shawn Rashid Douglas Motorsport 2m17.345s +2.953s 46