Michael Herck ends on top For the last day of 2011 pre-season testing in Barcelona today, the thirteen teams of the GP2 paddock were greeted by a dry track. As the morning session opened, it was Lotus ART’s Jules Bianchi on new tires who set the early pace. But the Frenchman would not stay in control of the timing sheet for too long as Team AirAsia’s Luiz Razia bettered Bianchi’s lap time by 0.08s while Charles Pic slipped into P3 for Barwa Addax.
The first hour of the session started to look like a qualifying session as yesterday’s fastest man Davide Valsecchi claimed the top spot in the following lap going three tenths faster than his teammate. While the Italian’s lap time stayed unbeaten, the remainder of the field fought tooth and nail to make their way up the timesheet. Carlin’s Oliver Turvey found some extra pace in the third sector which put him in P2 as Scuderia Coloni’s Michael Herck moved to P3. Just before the one hour mark, a red flag - caused by Julian Leal - stopped the proceedings after the Rapax man went off the track at Turn 12.
When the session resumed, Dams’ Romain Grosjean put his head down to move up to P3, but as Davide Rigon completed a lap good enough to put him on P2, his teammate at Scuderia Coloni Herck improved his personal best and went top, 0.06s ahead of Valsecchi. Sam Bird’s efforts to better the Romanian’s lap time fell short by 0.02s. Grosjean managed to slip into P3 six hundredths slower than the iSport driver. One last red flag stopped the session with one minute left on the clock. The first eighteen drivers finished within the same second.
The afternoon session saw Racing Engineering’s Christian Vietoris make his way to the top of the timesheet until Marcus Ericsson at iSport improved the German’s lap time by 1.9s. GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutierrez was the first to get closer to the Swede, moving up to P2 with a lap time half a second slower than Ericsson’s. Bianchi was then on a mission, but failed to claim the top spot by 0.2s. On his following lap, the Frenchman improved on every sector and took control of the timesheet. In the final hour of the session, Valsecchi reclaimed the title of fastest man clocking in a lap time three tenths quicker than Bianchi. Rigon proved Scuderia Coloni’s good form by edging the Lotus ART racer out of P2. The session was briefly red flagged three times in the last thirty minutes.
This concluded the 2011 pre-season testing. The seventh season of the GP2 Series will open in Istanbul on May 6-7-8.
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