Fabio Leimer fastest but Rossi impresses The last 2011 post-season test day took place today at Circuit de Catalunya. The paddock welcomed two new faces for the occasion, namely Pole Kuba Giermaziak at iSport and Spaniard Albert Costa at Super Nova Racing. GP2 race winner Giacomo Ricci returned to the field at Super Nova, GP3 2011 runner-up James Calado rejoined Lotus ART, and Sam Bird tested again with Trident Racing.
The session opened in cooler conditions than yesterday and it was Fabio Leimer who set the early pace ahead of rookie Rio Haryanto at Dams. A red flag interrupted the proceedings in the first hour after Carlin’s Kevin Magnussen went into the gravel bed at Turn 5. At mid-session, Esteban Gutierrez went top, 0.5s quicker than Leimer while Bird slipped into P2 ahead of Kevin Ceccon. But Leimer topped the timesheet again, going 0.2s quicker than the Lotus ART ace. Minutes later, Alexander Rossi moved up to P3 but Stefano Coletti at Coloni found extra pace to edge the American out. The session was red flagged for the second time after rookie Costa stopped on track. At the re-start, Leimer held on to the top spot ahead of Bird. A final red flag happened in the dying minutes when Haryanto stopped on track. Leimer ended the morning session on top ahead of Bird and Gutierrez. Magnussen, Coletti, Ceccon, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Rossi, Haryanto and Julian Leal completed the top 10.
The afternoon session started with American Rossi topping the timesheet early on leaving his rivals with no other choice but to try and better his laptime. Brendon Hartley at Ocean Racing was the closest to the American and remained ahead of his teammate Felix Da Costa for most of the session. At the start of the final hour, Jake Rosenwzeig at Barwa Addax move up to P3. While most of the drivers were busy doing race simulations, Coletti went top, 0.1s quicker than Rossi but at that point Rossi was on race simulation runs and was not trying to go faster. Nathanael Berthon made his way up to P3. At the checkered flag, Coletti remained on top although he did not beat Leimer’s fastest morning laptime because the track was hotter by now. Rossi, Berthon, Hartley, Jake Rosenzweig, Felix Da Costa, Fabio Onidi, Nigel Melker, Julian Leal and Leimer rounded up the top 10. The session was briefly interrupted once when James Calado stopped at turn 6.
Today marked the end of the post-season tests. The GP2 Series will be back in action in three weeks at Yas Marina Circuit for the 2011 GP2 Final in Abu Dhabi alongside Formula One.
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