Lotus GP ace sets best laptime in Barcelona
Esteban Gutiérrez finished at the top of the timesheets today after putting in a laptime of 1:28.740, 0.004s ahead of Giedo van der Garde in a very closely fought morning session. Julian Leal topped the afternoon session ahead of Nigel Melker.
The temperatures were very cold as day two of the second 2012 pre-season testing opened at Circuit de Catalunya. James Calado set the early pace, two hundredths quicker than his teammate Gutiérrez, but the Briton’s laptime was later bettered by GP3 graduate Rio Haryanto. Max Chilton was the first driver to dip under 1m29s in what looked like a qualifying session for most racers as they compared the performance between Pirelli Prime and Option tyres. By mid-session, Gutiérrez went top, a mere 0.008s faster than Chilton whilst Davide Valsecchi also broke the 1m29s barrier and put his DAMS car into P3. In an extremely competitive and trouble-free session, van der Garde found the extra pace to slip into P2, four thousands of a second shy from Gutiérrez’ laptime. At the chequered flag, the top three remained unchanged and were followed by Valsecchi, Stefano Coletti, Luiz Razia, Calado, Fabrizio Crestani, Jolyon Palmer and Fabio Onidi.
After the lunch break, Stéphane Richelmi set the early pace, but his teammate Julian Leal went two tenths quicker and took control of the timesheets early on and remained unchallenged until the chequered flag. The remainder of the three hour session was used by the drivers to work on race simulations and pit stop practice. With only fifteen days left before the season opener in Sepang, the teams' main focus was on finding the best set up. In the final half hour, Melker went second fastest. Richelmi, Josef Kral, Tom Dillmann (replacing Sergio Canamasas at Rapax), Razia, Jon Lancaster, Ricardo Teixeira, Haryanto and Gutiérrez rounded up the top ten.
Tomorrow’s session will start at 9am local time and run until 12pm. After a one hour break, it will run from 1pm until 4pm.