Jani puts Belgium car top on home soil15/07/2011
Neel Jani (Belgium - RSC Anderlecht) topped the timesheets in first practice for Superleague Formula's Grand Prix of Zolder, producing a lap of 1:20.020 to edge out Craig Dolby (England) and John Martin (Australia) in a closely-fought opening run.
The Belgian car didn't hit the track until halfway through the 40-minute session, but when it did finally emerge Swiss-born racer Jani wasted little time in getting among the pacesetters, leaping to P4 on his first flying lap. He then went to the top of the times with under five minutes remaining, toppling Dolby to end the session a slender 0.161s clear of the England car. Martin - who set the pace for much of the first half of the session - was just 0.018s behind Dolby in third.
A race winner at last month’s season opener, Dutchman Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands – PSV Eindhoven) was on the pace throughout opening practice, eventually setting the fourth fastest lap of the session. Behind him Assen polesitter Tristan Gommendy (France – Girondins de Bordeaux) was fifth, whilst Andy Soucek (Spain – Atletico de Madrid) delivered a strong final lap to end the session sixth.
Series debutant Mikhail Aleshin (Russia) quickly displayed his pace, ending the session eighth fastest on his maiden run in Superleague Formula machinery. He finished behind Belgian-born racer Frédéric Vervisch (Luxembourg) but ahead of series regulars Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil) and Duncan Tappy (Turkey - Galatasaray).
Meanwhile series returnees Max Wissel (South Korea) and Chris van der Drift (New Zealand) spent first practice reacclimatizing to Superleague Formula competition, ending up 11th and 13th respectively in the opening session.