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Maldonado quickest in free practice

NEWS STORY
24/05/2007

Pastor Maldonado (left) has set out his Monaco stall by claiming the top spot in first free practice session in the Principality, just ahead of Timo Glock and Giorgio Pantano.

The Venezuelan set a time of 1:23.320 just before the end of the session to put himself ahead of Glock, while Pantano crossed the line just as the clock ran out, a slightly slower third section just denying him bragging rights ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Andy Soucek and Bruno Senna were swapping fastest laps early in the session, with the Spaniard running right on the edge all over the circuit, narrowly missing an impact at St Devote seemingly on every lap.

It wasn’t until halfway through the session that the others started to show their hands: Lucas di Grassi, Glock and Pantano joined the fray at the top of the timesheets at that stage, with the top spot swapping between them on every lap.

With five minutes remaining in the session the German looked to have it sewn up, much to the delight of his team on the pitwall, setting a best time of 1:23.416.

Soucek was still pushing hard though, and failed to heed the problems of Adrian Zaugg ahead of him on track: the South African almost lost his car at the top of the hill on some oil before the Spaniard followed him too fast, throwing his car heavily into the barriers and giving his team a hard night to come.

The marshals were quick to get the broken car off the track, leaving Maldonado just enough time to set the fastest lap of the day. Soucek will at least take some solace from finishing fifth fastest overall, just behind di Grassi and ahead of debutant Sebastien Buemi, who was an impressive sixth in his first time in the car.

The top ten was rounded out by Andi Zuber, Antonio Pizzonia, Kohei Hirate and Bruno Senna, but the biggest smiles in the paddock seemed to be emanating from the iSport pit, where cryptic comments about fuel loads were followed by knowing smirks between them.

Provided by the GP2 Series Media Service

To check out our Thursday practice gallery, click here

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