Spain’s Racing Engineering have completed a successful two days of testing at the, now traditional, Barcelona post-season test. Four drivers were given an opportunity to drive the team’s Dallara cars with Brazilian André Negrão and Canadian Gianmarco Raimondo running on Tuesday with Nigel Melker and Facundo Regalia taking their turn on Wednesday.
Conditions were still cool and overcast in an afternoon session that was interrupted twice by red flags. André was able to complete 30 laps to set a best time of 1:31.382, 14th fastest, whilst Gianmarco, also running for 30 laps, improved his morning time by almost a full second with a lap of 1:31.579, 19th quickest of the session.
The weather had deteriorated badly by the start of Wednesday’s morning session with heavy rain and a very wet track. It was some time before any drivers ventured out but times were largely meaningless and it was only in the last hour that conditions began to improve. Both of the Racing Engineering drivers were amongst the fastest with Nigel Melker and Facundo Regalia first and second fastest for much of the session. As the track began to dry, and the times improved, two red flags delayed progress but at the end of the allotted time Facundo had set the fastest time with a lap of 1:51.799 and Nigel was 4th quickest with a lap of 1:52.179.
Conditions were a little better for the afternoon session with the sun coming out, but it was only in the last 30 minutes of a session interrupted by three red flags that the teams were able to fit slick tyres to the cars. Once again Nigel was amongst the fastest finishing with a lap of 1:31.583 for the 3rd fastest time whilst Facundo was only a little slower on 1:32.337 to be 18th quickest. The Racing Engineering team will now return to their Sanlúcar de Barrameda base to prepare for the second post-season test to be held at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit on the 22nd and 23rd of November.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "We had two very interesting days of testing in Barcelona. With André Negrão and Gianmarco Raimondo we had two rookies in the cars on day 1. It was good to see how quickly they adapted to the GP2 car and its peculiarities. The Pirelli tyres were an additional challenge for Andre and Gianmarco and we were pleased to see how well they managed them.
Day 2 was, even though heavily influenced by the rain in the morning, a very productive day as well. We have been quick on a wet, drying and dry track, which is very positive as it shows that we know how to adapt to each situation quickly and correctly. Nigel Melker has done a good job throughout the day, setting the 4th fastest time in the morning and finishing 3rd in the afternoon even though he encountered some traffic on each of his fast laps. He has shown a strong and stable performance. Facundo Regalia, on his second day in a GP2 car, set the fastest lap time in the morning session on a wet track. This is a very positive result for him and underlines the performance of our car. In the afternoon Facundo continued adapting to the GP2 car and made another step in his performance from the previous day.
Overall we can be satisfied with these two test days, the steep learning curves of our rookies, Andre, Gianmarco and Facundo, and the consistent performance of Nigel."