Barcelona, Day 2: Filippi breaks the 1�32 mark

The first test sessions of the 2011 Auto GP season has just ended in Barcelona, giving two clear indications on what to expect: first of all, given the tight gaps between drivers, the fight for both the overall and the rookie title promises to be really hard. Secondly, the steady technical development going on from the last months of 2009 is paying dividends, and made the Auto GP package one of the most interesting in international motorsport. The best overall lap time by Luca Filippi in Barcelona, 1'31"933, is indeed the quickest time ever posted at Circuit de Catalunya by a racing car apart from F1 and GP2, clearly showing that Auto GP is the car to beat in the one-make series panorama. The Italian driver posted that time in the morning session, when cold temperatures made the track quicker, while in the afternoon heat made the circuit slower, with the team focusing on development and race simulations.

Behind Filippi was again Giovanni Venturini, the Durango rookie showing a really natural talent in finding the limit very early and then a special ability in lapping on it steadily. Venturini closed the day ahead of another Auto GP rookie, Jon Lancaster, who already learned how to make the most of new tires posting a good 1'32"334. Just one tenth adrift was Adrien Tambay, taking DAMS back in the high area of the classification ahead of SuperNova's Adrian Zaugg. The performance by the South-African driver was really good, as he was the only one to improve in the afternoon session, the slower one.

Behind Zaugg was an all-Lazarus duo, Fabrizio Crestani and Fabio Onidi, with nearly identical lap times and a big improvement compared to the previous day. Just 0.05 from Onidi was the whole Ombra line-up, with Samuele Buttarelli slightly in front of Ceccon: in the afternoon they both focused on pit-stops and race simulations, with interesting results. Rio Haryanto gained more and more confidence with the DAMS car, closing the top ten in front of Bruno Mendez and Marco Barba. Sergei Afanasiev, driving for DAMS, closed the day in P13 ahead of the two new-entries Gabby Chaves and Daniel Mancinelli, with TP Formula. Both coming from the Italian F3, they were at their first contact with the car, and so together with the team they opted for a cautious approach, aiming to learn as much as possible of its behavior.

Barcelona official Auto GP test, Combined lap times for March 24

1 Luca Filippi SuperNova 1'31"933
2 Giovanni Venturini Durango 1'32"154
3 Jon Lancaster Campos Racing 1'32"334
4 Adrien Tambay DAMS 1'32"446
5 Adrian Zaugg SuperNova 1'32"499
6 Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1'32"936
7 Fabio Onidi Lazarus 1'32"968
8 Samuele Buttarelli Ombra 1'33"013
9 Kevin Ceccon Ombra 1'33"138
10 Rio Haryanto DAMS 1'33"188
11 Bruno Mendez SuperNova 1'33"274
12 Marco Barba Campos Racing 1'33"340
13 Sergei Afanasiev DAMS 1'33"595
14 Gabby Chaves TP Formula 1'33"910
15 Daniel Mancinelli TP Formula 1'34"991
16 Giuseppe Cipriani Durango 1'35"996

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