Luke Browning finished a wet opening session at Spa-Francorchamps quickest of all, setting a 2:23.055 for Hitech Pulse-Eight to top the times in Free Practice. ART Grand Prix also made a strong start to the weekend, finishing second and third fastest with Kaylen Frederick and Grégoire Saucy respectively.
It was Saucy that set the initial benchmark on a 2:24.900 in the wet conditions. Teammate Frederick joined him in the 2:24s, just 0.043s back in P2. The Swiss driver then lowered his best to a 2:24.216 in the opening stages.
Zak O’Sullivan was the only driver within half a second of the ART man in the opening 15 minutes, slotting himself into P2 some 0.312s behind. He soon went one better, dipping down to a 2:23.862 to take the top spot. Teammate Paul Aron followed and moved himself up the order to go second, making it a PREMA Racing 1-2 with 25 minutes to go.
With half the session gone, Taylor Barnard and Gabriele Minì completed the top five for Jenzer Motorsport and Hitech Pulse-Eight respectively.
Browning popped up to second with 15 minutes left to run, setting a 2:24.089. O’Sullivan then extended his advantage, lowering his best to a 2:23.694 with just over 10 minutes left of the session.
After his fast start, Saucy improved back up to second, with the Swiss just 0.045s down on O’Sullivan’s time entering the final five minutes.
While the rain remained steady throughout the Practice session, the best times filtered in in the final five minutes with plenty of improvements throughout the field.
Browning took the top spot for a matter of seconds before Caio Collet put Van Amersfoort Racing on top with a 2:23.621.
Josep María Martí was another late improver, going fastest of all with a minute left on a 2:23.420 for Campos Racing. That was until the ARTs of Saucy and then Frederick went quicker still. Not to be out-done, Browning finished off his final lap to set a 2:23.055, finishing the opening session of the weekend fastest of all.
Frederick and Saucy followed in second and third ahead of Martí. Collet was fifth in the end ahead of Minì, O’Sullivan, Oliver Goethe, Taylor Barnard and Nikita Bedrin in the top 10.
Qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps is set to get underway at 15:00 local time.