Marcus Ericsson put his experience and driving skills to good use today at the wheel of 2012 Champions DAMS car as he topped the timing sheet in Jerez in a trouble free afternoon session. Earlier in the morning, it was Felipe Nasr at Carlin who lead the way.
The final GP2 Series post-season test session opened today in foggy conditions and it was red flagged within the first thirty minutes as visibility was challenging at turns 6 and 7. When the morning session resumed ten minutes later, the track conditions were still a bit tricky and many drivers opted to wait in the garages until the sun made a much awaited appearance. Jolyon Palmer at the wheel of a Lotus GP car claimed the early top spot ahead of Stephane Richelmi (Trident).
As the track conditions improved, most cars fed onto the track and it was Ericsson who topped the timing sheet, 0.7s clear from his teammate for the day Rio Haryanto. Both men dipped under the 1m28s barrier with Nigel Melker (Racing Engineering) in tow. Julian Leal at Trident found some extra pace and moved up to P2.
In the final thirty minutes, Carlin’s Nasr went quickest in 1:26.810, 0.08s faster than Richelmi. Johnny Cecotto at Carlin moved up to P3, but in the closing minutes, Stefano Coletti (Rapax) and Ericsson edged out the Venezuelan to take P3 and P4 respectively. Fabio Onidi (Coloni), Mitch Evans (Arden), Haryanto, Kevin Giovesi (Lazarus) and Alexander Sims (Addax) rounded out the top ten.
The sun came out to play as the afternoon session started. Coletti set the early pace but Cecotto and Sims both improved, the Carlin man one tenth ahead of the Addax driver. As the clock ticked down and drivers used as much track time as possible, Nasr went top seven tenths faster than Haryanto who had moved up to P2. The rest of the field played catch up with the Brazilian with Cecotto, Daniel Juncadella (Rapax), Alexander Rossi (Caterham) and Coletti all moving up to P2 and edging out each other.
In the final hour, the skies became greyer and the temperatures dropped slightly. Coletti went four hundredths quicker than Nasr, but the Monegasque driver’s time was then improved by Fabio Onidi at Coloni. With thirty minutes left on the clock, Ericsson broke under the 1m27s barrier followed closely by Sims. At the checkered flag, Giovesi finished third ahead of Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Arden), Richelmi, Onidi, Cecotto, Coletti, Nasr and Haryanto.
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