Cecotto leads the way in Monaco
Venezuelan on top in free practice
Johnny Cecotto has set the pace in this morning's free practice session in Monaco, stealing the top spot as the chequered flag dropped to lead home Series leader Davide Valsecchi and Fabio Leimer as the teams get ready for this afternoon's qualifying session in the fabled principality.
The Venezuelan was at the sharp end of the time sheets for much of the session, but his best lap right at the close of play at 1:22.075 put the cat among the pigeons by running 0.6 ahead of his rivals, who had been split by less than a tenth before Cecotto's flyer.
The session opened under glorious blue skies, and the action on track was soon heating up as Josef Kral, Luiz Razia, Leimer, Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde and Cecotto swapped the top spot of the timesheets between them in the opening minutes. Esteban Gutierrez was unable to take the fight to his rivals, however, after losing the rear and finding the wall just out of St Devote, bringing his session to an early close.
With 2 sets of each tyre, and a shortened qualifying session for everyone when the grid will be split into 2 groups, many of the drivers changed tyres to look for an advantage, and the second half of the session saw more action as they explored the limits of the circuit. Cecotto was on a fast lap until he found Simon Trummer at the pool, tapping the Swiss driver but going faster next time round, while van der Garde went quicker still but spun at Rascasse to bring out the yellows once again.
With 3 minutes remaining Leimer put himself on top with a well judged lap, and when Kral spun off the kerbs at the exit to the swimming pool it looked as though the action was over, but as the flag dropped Valsecchi and then Cecotto sliced into their rivals' times to give themselves a last gasp advantage. Behind the top 3 van der Garde, Jolyon Palmer, Razia, Stefano Coletti, Chilton, Nathanaël Berthon and Kral will all fancy a shot at pole in just a few hours time.