Ingo Gerstl (Top Speed) set the best time in his Toro Rosso STR1, Salvatore de Plano (MM International) in his GP2 was the fastest FORMULA driver.
25 minutes of practice were on the schedule, but some red-flag interruptions shortened the driving time in the first free practice session. Due to the tight schedule, the clock continues to tick even during a red flag.
- Salvatore de Plano sets the first time under 1 minute 30 seconds. In the end the Italian from MM International was second fastest behind Gerstl, and with 1:29.158 the fastest FORMULA pilot. “One second faster is possible”, last year’s runner-up said after the first practice session.
- Phil Stratfords Benetton B197 stranded in the middle of the session in the hairpin bend, the mechanics suspect problems with the battery. Previously, he had finished second in the FORMULA classification.
- H&A Racing and F Xtreme Racing are very busy: Both Wolfgang Jaksch‘s Super Aguri and Bernd Herndlhofer‘s Arrows had to visit the pit after only a few laps due to technical difficulties. Veronika Cicha was the only one in the team who could do a normal training – but she complained about the used tyres.
- At Top Speed all eyes are on the three rookies: Manfred Loach completed fewer laps than planned, the red flags also stopped him – the Austrian could continue after a spin.
Bianca Steiner came through the training without a spin, she came 5th in the FORMULA class and is considered an insider tip for the races.
Debutant Thomas Jakoubek spun in his first lap at the Motodrom, at the end of the penultimate corner. After the engine stalled, the Austrian had to get out and the car was towed away.
- The Swiss Peter Göllner (Speed Center) spun just after tipping the throttle in the hairpin bend and his GP2-Dallara also had to be towed away. Three minutes before the end, the session was released again after the second interruption.
- The fastest driver of the morning session was Ingo Gerstl (Top Speed) with 1:22.122 min. His newly revised V10 engine was only tried for the first time yesterday on the race track.