Max Wissel topped the time sheets for FC Basel in the opening practice session of this weekend's Superleague Formula round at Adria.
After a disappointing weekend at Brands Hatch, where he failed to make the Super Final for the first time this year, Wissel was on a charge, and was the only driver to duck below the 1m08sec benchmark. But despite feeling confident ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session, the young German was unimpressed with the circuit layout.
"I don't like the track because it's definitely too small for a car like this," he said, "but the team did a fantastic job and the car was really well balanced and we'll see what will happen in second practice, and hopefully win the shootout."
The German's 1m07.891sec lap was just one hundredth of a second faster than his GU Racing teammate – and series debutant – Ben Hanley, who replaces the injured Chris van der Drift at Olympiacos this weekend.
Alvaro Parente (FC Porto) finished a quiet session in third, just pipping early pacesetter John Martin (Beijing Guoan) by nine thousandths of a second. Local boy Davide Rigon – keen to impress on home turf – was next up in fifth for Anderlecht.
It was a mixed session for the British contingent. Duncan Tappy (Flamengo) – having nearly taken to the grass at the final corner on several occasions – finished the session just six thousandths of a second down on sixth-placed Frederic Vervisch, a late replacement for regular Liverpool driver James Walker. Further down, however, PSV Eindhoven's Hywel Lloyd – another late replacement, this time for Narain Karthikeyhan – could not match fellow Briton Hanley's pace. His best time of 1m10.830sec left him down in 14th place.
Fellow Superleague rookie Celso Miguez (Olympique Lyonnais) also struggled. After setting a solid pace early on, a spin into the final complex left his car stranded mid-track. This brought out the red flags moments before the checkered flag was due to fly.
Tottenham's Craig Dolby failed to make it out of the garage at all after an engine-related issue.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Max Wissel FC Basel 1m07.891s
2. Ben Hanley Olympiacos 1m08.020s + 0.129s
3. Alvaro Parente FC Porto 1m08.110s + 0.219s
4. John Martin Beijing Guoan 1m08.119s + 0.228s
5. Davide Rigon RSC Anderlecht 1m08.258s + 0.367s
6. Frederic Vervisch Liverpool FC 1m08.461s + 0.570s
7. Duncan Tappy Flamengo 1m08.467s + 0.576s
8. Tristan Gommendy Galatasaray 1m08.522s + 0.631s
9. Marcos Martinez Sevilla FC 1m08.617s + 0.726s
10. Robert Doornbos Corinthians 1m08.678s + 0.787s
11. Yelmer Buurman AC Milan 1m08.682s + 0.791s
12. Julien Jousse AS Roma 1m09.061s + 1.170s
13. Celso Miguez Olympique Lyonnais 1m09.331s + 1.440s
14. Hywel Lloyd PSV Eindhoven 1m10.830s + 2.939s
15. Maria de Villota Atletico de Madrid 1m11.255s + 3.364s
16. Craig Dolby Tottenham Hotspur