ENCOURAGING FIRST GP2 TEST FOR DPR
The first three days of testing (23-25 February) of the new GP2 cars have now been completed by all the teams entered in the Series at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet in the south of France. Despite the weather being very cold, there was neither snow nor rain to hamper the scheduled testing programme.
Each of the 12 teams present had available only one Renault-engined Dallara chassis per team, with 22 drivers taking part over the course of the three days. DPR Team Manager, Andy Miller, was upbeat about the British team's performance, declaring it to have been a very productive and encouraging test. "We had a delay on the first afternoon due to a failure which turned out to be a driveshaft design problem, DPR being the first of several teams to encounter it.
After that though our car ran faultlessly for the remainder of the test and we've come away with a fair understanding of the cars and the Bridgestone tyres. "Other teams had various component reliability issues over the 3 days, which we had to thoroughly check on to prevent them from happening to us, so there were some long nights at the track but, all in all, we are feeling very positive about our first test."
Over 600 kilometres of running was achieved by DPR during the 3 days and both drivers, Britain's Ryan Sharp and France's Olivier Pla were very happy, having both settled in quickly and recorded good lap times. The seat time in the car was shared between the two. Ryan was 3rd quickest of all the drivers on the second day before revisions to the track format were made, and Olivier was 4th quickest at the end of the final day with the shorter, faster track layout.
Aberdeenshire-based Ryan was all set for his final run in the car on Friday afternoon when the session was brought to a premature end due to a technical issue on another car, thus depriving him of the opportunity to set a really representative time against his fellow competitors. Catching up with Ryan just after the test finished, he reflected: "I'm happy enough. It would have been nice to go for a time to see where we were [against our competitors] but I got plenty of running so it's not been too bad at all. The GP2 car doesn't compare to anything I've driven in the past but it wasn't as much of a beast as I'd feared! The characteristics of the car seem to suit my driving style, and it's not too difficult to handle. The step up in power didn't turn out to be the biggest issue. It was the cornering speed which took more getting used to, but that came pretty quickly."
Olivier Pla echoed Ryan's enthusiasm. "I'm very happy after these three days, with the running, the car and with the team. We are all getting to know each other and I have a good relationship with everyone. The car is really impressive and I was pleasantly surprised with its potential and how it reacts on the brakes. It feels great so I am very positive about it and I think it's been a good start for the beginning of the season."