The penultimate round of the 2017 F2 Championship has started well for Russian Time at Jerez, in Spain, with Luca Ghiotto (1m24.942s) qualifying on the front row alongside pole position man Charles Leclerc (1m24.682s). Team mate Artem Markelov (1m25.422s) is also among the pace-setters and lines up fifth for tomorrow’s feature event.
Practice was more problematic for the team, with Artem 10th and Luca 13th before strong team work and set-up changes produced a quantum step for qualifying. Sergio Sette Camara and series front runner Oliver Rowland separate the two Russian Time cars on the grid in what looks set to be another entertaining battle between the season’s leading contenders.
Artem Markelov: «In practice I was suffering a lot of understeer but we made strong progress for qualifying. I was still struggling a little in Turns 1 and 2 and did quite a lot of experiementation with lines, which gained me about half a second in sector one. That, combined with quickest time in sector three put me fifth overall and I should be able to have a strong race from there.»
Luca Ghiotto: «It’s always tough to be competitive in qualifying after a difficult practice session and the team did an amazing job today. The car was 98% perfect and while I’d obviously have preferred pole, we made a big step and P2 is good. It will be a long, hot race and anything can happen, so I will be giving everything to repeat the competitivemness we showed in Monza.»
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «Congratulations to the whole team today. When you finish practice in the bottom half of the order and then qualify both cars in the top five, you have done a good job! It should allow us to keep our strong challenges going in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ championships.”