Racing Engineering driver once again quickest on final day
The final session of a two-day 2011 post-season test took place today at Circuito de Jerez. Twenty-six drivers sat behind the wheel of the GP2/11 car. While Arden International, Scuderia Coloni and Super Nova Racing did not change their line-up for today, the other teams welcomed new faces, including newcomers Rupert Svendsen-Cook at Racing Engineering, GP3 graduate Tom Dillmann at Barwa Addax, Giovanni Venturini at Dams, and Yuki Shiraishi at Ocean Racing Technology.
The morning session opened in cooler temperatures than the day before. Javier Villa set the early pace but his best laptime was soon improved by the Coloni pair Fabio Onidi and Kevin Ceccon. At the half hour mark, it was yesterday’s fastest man Fabio Leimer at Racing Engineering who took advantage of better grip to claim again the top spot and his laptime of 1:26.701 remained unbeaten until the chequered flag, one tenth quicker than Onidi. GP3 graduate Nigel Melker finished a mere five hundredths from the Italian proving that he is adjusting well to his Arden machine on his second day of testing with the British team. Villa, Ceccon, roolie Felix Da Costa, Jules Bianchi, Sam Bird, Max Chilton and Julian Leal rounded out the top ten.
After a one hour lunch break, the pitlane re-opened. The session was quickly red flagged after Ceccon spun and stopped in the gravel bed. At the re-start, rookie James Calado at Lotus ART was free to set the early pace ahead of Bianchi and Bird. But just before the one-hour mark, Bird at the wheel of his Trident car went top, half a second quicker than his countryman. It was then Bianchi’s turn to claim top spot going one tenth faster than Bird as Julian Leal also at Trident moved up to P3. The session was briefly red flagged three times again before the last hour of the session. At the chequered flag, Bianchi retained his top spot ahead of Bird, Leal, Arden’s rookie Simon Trummer, Calado, GP2 returnee Alexander Rossi at Caterham Team AriAsia, iSport’s Nathanël Berthon, Chilton, Ceccon and Jolyon Palmer at Barwa Addax. Onidi ended this testing as best rookie.
Next 2011 post-season test session will take place in Barcelona on October 19-20 and will be the final stop before flying to Abu Dhabi for the 2011 GP2 Final on November 11-12-13.