GP2 Series press release
Italian ace remains top in Jerez
Davide Valsecchi confirmed his good form setting the quickest laptime of Day 2 in the 2012 pre-season testing in Jerez. The DAMS driver clocked 1:24.783 in the morning session and left the rest of the field with the task to find the extra pace to try and close the gap with the mighty Italian.
The morning session was quickly interrupted by a red flag after rookie Felipe Nasr pushed the limits on cold tyres and ended up in the gravel bed. At the restart, Esteban Gutiérrez set the pace with a 1:26.625, but a second red flag stopped the proceedings again. This time, it was GP3 graduate Nigel Melker who lost control of his Ocean Racing car. His day ended prematurely following the damage done on his nachine after contact with the barrier. When the track went live again, Max Chilton put in a good lap three tenths quicker than Gutiérrez and moved to P1. The quick duo from iSport then had their turn to shine at the top of the timesheet, Marcus Ericsson becoming the first driver to break the 1m26s barrier this week.
The lap after James Calado went quickest, his Mexican teammate improved again and reclaimed the position heading the timesheets. In what felt like a qualifying session for some drivers, it was Valsecchi who settled the argument, setting a blazing laptime of 1:24.967. He improved another two tenths for good measure and would remain unbeaten until the chequered flag. Gutiérrez held onto P2 ahead of Chilton, Stefano Coletti, Jolyon Palmer, Ericsson, Dani Clos, Fabio Onidi, Calado and Fabio Leimer.
The afternoon session was mostly about race simulations for the teams. Proceedings were stopped in the opening ten minutes after Tom Dillmann suffered from a gearbox problem which ended his programme with Ocean Racing. At the restart, Luiz Razia set the early pace ahead of Simon Trummer and Nasr. A second red flag interrupted the session: Nathanaël Berthon lost control of his Racing Engineering machine and stopped in the gravel bed.
The remainder of the session saw drivers doing long runs and Valsecchi topping the timesheets again with a laptime of 1:26.648. He stayed unchallenged for most of the afternoon. And just as Giedo van der Garde put his Caterham Racing car on top, a final red flag caused by Julian Leal whose machine stopped on the track in the dying minutes stopped the proceedings again. The session wasn’t restarted as the clock had counted down to zero, therefore preventing any further chance for drivers to improve on their lap times.
The final testing day in Jerez will resume tomorrow at 9am local time. Kevin Ceccon will replace Tom Dillmann at Ocean Racing whilst the Frenchman will move to Rapax swapping with Daniel de Jong.