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Filippi and Valsecchi quickest in pre-season first testing day
Daniel Zampieri
Max Chilton
The third GP2 Asia Series will open next weekend as Formula One inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix support race. Prior to this grand event, the GP2 Asia field gathered this week for a two-day test session held at the Yas Marina circuit. It is the first time that the much-anticipated venue welcomes racing cars and its beautiful layout has already procured good sensations for the drivers.

The morning session was all about learning the 5.555km long track, but on a very dirty track and high temperature, many racers chose to go for installation laps and then patiently wait for the most daring to put rubber on the track. Davide Valsecchi at iSport topped the timing sheet ahead of veteran Luca Filippi at Meritus while rookie Christian Vietoris at Dams rounded up the Top 3. Other rookies Alexander Rossi (Ocean Racing Technology), Sam Bird (ART Grand Prix and Daniel Zampieri (Piquet GP) all finished in the Top 10.

Davide Valsecchi (iSport International): “We were fastest this morning and we had a great pace again this afternoon. But the track conditions between this morning and this afternoon changed drastically, especially with the temperatures dropping 10°C. This morning, the track was not that dirty, but it lacked a lot of grip. When I went out on new tires this afternoon, the sun was already down and the track was a little bit colder so it was much quicker. We should see again slower times tomorrow morning.

It’s a beautiful setting here. Yesterday, when I was running around the track I saw grandstands everywhere. It’s very impressive: you have one every corner and I really hope that it will be full for the race. My favorite part of the track is in sector 1, after the start/finish line. The corners there are really fast. The end of the very long straight in sector 3 with the big braking point is also extremely important because I think this is where you can overtake. And I have to say that the track lightning system is excellent: we can even see clearer than during the day!”

Abu Dhabi – Test session Day 1 – Morning session


Driver Team Time Laps
1. Davide Valsecchi iSport International 1:57.504 16
2. Luca Filippi Meritus 1:57.539 17
3. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1:57.632 8
4. Luiz Razia Barwa Addax Team 1:57.706 17
5. Alexander Rossi Ocean Racing Technology 1:57.877 10
6. Diego Nunes Meritus 1:57.907 14
7. Sam Bird ART Grand Prix 1:58.087 8
8. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 1:58.577 11
9. Johnny Cecotto Trident Racing 1:59.266 11
10. Daniel Zampieri Piquet GP 1:59.504 8
11. Max Chilton Barwa Addax Team 2:00.142 11
12. Marcus Ericsson ART Grand Prix 2:00.407 9
13. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 2:00.782 10
14. Pablo Sanchez Arden International 2:01.111 9
15. Josef Kral Super Nova Racing 2:01.127 7
16. Will Bratt Scuderia Coloni 2:01.308 11
17. Michael Herck DPR 2:01.333 13
18. Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden International 2:01.516 7
19. Fabio Leimer Ocean Racing Technology 2:01.683 5
20 Vladimir Arabadzhiev Piquet GP 2:03.842 8
21. Plamen Kralev Trident Racing 2:04.288 29
22. Roldan Rodriguez Scuderia Coloni -- --

The afternoon session started at 4pm local time in order to finish at night time and test the lightning system of the track since the Formula One Grand Prix next week will be held at sunset. The track conditions improved of course improved a bit and the experience of Filippi and Roldan Rodriguez at Scuderia Coloni paid off with the Italian setting of the quickest lap time as the temperature decreased and the sky darkened. Meritus showed great pace today with second driver Diego Nunes completing the top 3. Bird, Vietoris, Zampieri and Max Chilton (Barwa Addax) were the quickest rookies of the day.

Luca Filippi (Meritus): “I have to say that we are very proud to be the first ones to test on this track. It is a long circuit with many corners and it’s not so easy to remember at the beginning. We did a really good job today. And you have to remember that Meritus is only racing in GP2 Asia, so for the car to be set-up perfectly from the get go is quite the accomplishment. We wanted to be really fast this afternoon because we knew that in cooler conditions and with more rubber on the circuit, the track would get faster and we wanted to be the quickest. This result gives us great confidence for tomorrow and next week’s race weekend. Tomorrow, we will do a lot of pitstop practice and maybe some race distance to see how our pace is.

“In terms of layout, the first thing you see is the facilities – which are amazing. Here, there are two great fast corners. My favorite parts are the first three corners and then the last two. It’s where all the fun happens and where you can prove your driver’s skills. Overall, it’s a really nice circuit.”
Tomorrow’s second testing day will start at 11am, local time and end at 7pm.

Abu Dhabi – Test session Day 1 – Afternoon session


Driver Team Time Laps
1. Luca Filippi Meritus 1:52.842 23
2. Roldan Rodriguez Scuderia Coloni 1:53.091 26
3. Diego Nunes Meritus 1:53.188 28
4. Davide Valsecchi iSport International 1:53.279 18
5. Luiz Razia Barwa Addax Team 1:53.486 26
6. Sam Bird ART Grand Prix 1:53.572 27
7. Johnny Cecotto Trident Racing 1:53.681 35
8. Christian Vietoris DAMS 1:53.682 26
9. Daniel Zampieri Piquet GP 1:53.916 26
10. Max Chilton Barwa Addax Team 1:54.022 23
11. William Bratt Scuderia Coloni 1:54.060 25
12. Michael Herck DPR 1:54.086 20
13. Edoardo Piscopo DAMS 1:54.297 25
14. Josef Kral Super Nova Racing 1:54.494 25
15. Fabio Leimer Ocean Racing Technology 1:54.494 20
16. Alexander Rossi Ocean Racing Technology 1:54.516 16
17. Vladimir Arabadzhiev Piquet GP 1:54.661 19
18. Marcus Ericsson ART Grand Prix 1:54.740 20
19. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 1:55.714 16
20 Rodolfo Gonzalez Arden International 1:55.758 10
21. Plamen Kralev Trident Racing 1:59.411 22
22. Giacomo Ricci DPR -- --

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