A blistering final lap in the closing stages of today’ official practice session jumped Alex Carella to the top of the time sheets ahead of Erik Stark and Philippe Chiappe, with teammate Thani Al Qemzi fourth quickest in the second DAC.
Carella was the only driver to go sub 45 seconds with a 44.053s lap around the 2.02km River Liu circuit, almost half a second clear of his rival Stark.
The Abu Dhabi driver is one of six of the current line-up of drivers to have won in Liuzhou, but the only one to have done it three times.
The championship leader said:
Everything went well.
New boat, first time on the water so I think the team has done a really good job.
The set-up is good but tomorrow is another day.
We shall see.
This is a lucky circuit for me.
This one and Abu Dhabi are my favourites.
Both very fast and test you as a driver.
So I hope to be in the same position after qualifying.
It was a frantic session run in temperatures topping 35 degrees and excessive humid of 75% that took its toll on drivers and some engines, with just 1.09s separating the top eight.
Fresh from his win in Harbin in August Sweden’s Stark was once again in the mix and looked to be set for the quickest time with a 45.02s lap before Carella’s final run.
I am more than happy with that.
We are up in the mix again.
We carried out everything we planned to do.
We tested two engines and tried out several different propellers.
We have a pretty good idea of what we will do tomorrow and that’s what this session was all about.
Stark’s teammate Jonas Andersson only managed to test one of his two boats and said:
To be honest I did really learn anything but I was really happy with the engine.
After two frustrating results the defending champion Philippe Chiappe produced an impressive 45.21s lap to go third quickest and in his new Moore hull:
It was the first real test in the new boat.
I am still learning it but overall I am very pleased.
I will sit with the team later and decide what we will do for the weekend.
This is an important weekend for the team.
The one issue that still lingers over the CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team and Chiappe is that they still cannot resolve the electrical problem with his best engine.