|Conditions were ideal for the 30 minute free practice session with sunshine, blue skies and a track temperature of 34°. All 26 cars took to the track in the opening minutes and Fabio Leimer was immediately amongst the quickest when he set the 5th fastest time and Nathanaël Berthon soon joined him when he moved up to 7th place.
All the cars returned to the pits with 15 minutes remaining to make final adjustments and, in some cases, fit new tyres and with 10 minutes left all the cars were back on the track. Unfortunately these last few minutes of the session saw almost no improvements amongst the faster drivers as two yellow flag incidents meant fast lap times were impossible. Nathanaël Berthon finished the session in 9th with a time of 1:32.830s and Fabio Leimer was just 0.3s slower on 1:33.149s.
The track temperature had increased to 41° for the 30 minute afternoon qualifying session and as the cars took to the track Leimer was pushing hard from the start setting the 7th fastest time within a few minutes and the young Swiss was soon up to 5th with a time of 1:32.545s.
Nathanaël Berthon was also running well and with half the session gone both Racing Engineering cars stopped at the pits for final adjustments to their setups as well as a fresh set of tyres. Leimer immediately improved to a time of 1:32.234s with Berthon just a few tenths slower on 1:32.769s.
Just as the session entered its dying minutes and Leimer was on his fastest lap so far Chilton spun off the track at the Parabolica resulting in a yellow flag ruining his chance of moving up the grid. With Berthon similarly affected the two racing Engineering drivers had to settle for 7th and 17th respectively.Although both men would have preferred to have been higher up the grid, the Monza circuit offers several overtaking opportunities and their recent race pace should mean they both have excellent chances of scoring points and Leimer in particular will be looking for a podium place in tomorrow’s 30 lap Feature Race.