IFM DRIVERS SHOW THEIR GP2 STRENGTH
International Formula Master (IFM) title holders Fabio Leimer and Alexander Rossi showed their GP2 Series strength, as the Formula 1 feeder category's official test concluded in Jerez today, by setting third and ninth fastest in the overall timings.
Reigning IFM champion Leimer showed outstanding pace on his first outing with team Ocean Racing Technology, claiming the fastest newcomer lap time in yesterday afternoon's session as well as the overall third fastest lap of today in 1:26.193.
This season's IFM Rookie title winner Rossi also made an impact, posting the ninth quickest time in 1:26.740 with DAMS this afternoon. Rossi had been fastest rookie for most of the wet morning session until a hydraulic problem hindered his performance. The 17-year-old American ran in GP2 for the first time with Piquet GP on Tuesday 6th October.
Both former IFM champions also took part in the official GP2 Series test, with 2007's Jerome D'Ambrosio present on all three test days and consistently setting times within the top five despite driving for three different teams.
2008 title winner Chris van der Drift ran with Piquet GP today, posting the eleventh fastest time in 1:26.858, and was reunited with former IFM team-mate Vladimir Arabadzhiev, who completed his best lap in 1:28.059.
Fellow JD Motorsport driver Josef Kral also made his GP2 debut this week, testing for Ocean Racing Technology and Piquet GP on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, and setting the 16th fastest time in both afternoon sessions.
"It's been really nice to go from IFM to GP2," said Leimer on this week's experience. "There is a big difference in horsepower, you go from 250-odd hp to over 600, which is a big step! But there is so much in common otherwise, like the clutch, the steering wheel and the downforce. It really helps. You could see both myself and Alexander [Rossi] were pretty fast today and that is because we're used to driving a car like this.
"The test itself went really well; we had areas that needed working on after yesterday morning's first run and we improved every time. This morning was good too, it was interesting to run in the wet and we found a great set-up for the afternoon, which gave us third fastest."
The International Formula Master official winter testing sessions get underway next month with two open test days on 6-7th November 2009 at the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary.