Less than two weeks before the 2013 GP2 Series season kicks off in Malaysia, Stefano Coletti confirmed his good form today: the Monegasque driver topped a dry testing day in Barcelona in the morning session with a lap time of 1:29.055. Felipe Nasr was fastest in the afternoon for Carlin.
A clear blue sky welcomed the GP2 drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya this morning for the final day of pre-season testing. As the pitlane opened, the track was still damp though pushing the majority of drivers to opt for wet weather tires for the first half of the session. Stéphane Richelmi was the early pace setter, but his teammate Marcus Ericsson took control of the timesheets after one hour done and dusted in the session.
At the halfway mark and on a drying track, Riccardo Agostini was the first driver to test the hard compounds and to significantly improve on Ericsson’s best lap time. The rest of the field also switched to slicks and it was again Ericsson on soft tires who set the best lap time in a 1:29.606 until a red flag was waved when Rene Binder spun and stopped at Turn 5. At the restart, most drivers opted for the Soft Pirelli compounds and Coletti found extra pace to set the best lap time of the session with a 1:29.055, one tenth clear from Ericsson. Richelmi, Jolyon Palmer, Sergio Canamasas, James Calado, and rookies Kevin Giovesi, Mitch Evans, Daniel Abt and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs rounded up the top ten.
The afternoon session opened one hour later on a dry track. Conor Daly replaced Riccardo Agostini at Hilmer Motorsport. Fabio Leimer set the early pace, but Coletti (on the hard compound) edged him out of the top spot. The Rapax driver remained in control of the timesheets until mid-session when Nasr on soft compounds set the fastest second and third sectors to claim top spot a shy 0.09s quicker than Coletti. In the closing stages, the Monegasque driver reduced the gap slightly to end three hundredths slower than Nasr. Taking advantage of a dry track after two days of wet weather, the drivers focused mainly on race simulations and pit-stop practice. Tom Dillmann finished third ahead of Leimer, Quaife-Hobbs, Robin Frijns, Calado, Giovesi, Evans and Daly.
This marked the end of the pre-season testing for GP2 Series. In two weeks time, the paddock will gather in Sepang, Malaysia, for the opening round of the eighth season of the category.
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