Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello complete three days of testing in Abu Dhabi

The GP2 teams now travel to Sakhir for a further three days of testing on the 19th, 20th and 21st of March at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The thirteen GP2 teams assembled at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi for the first of the two three-day test sessions to be held before the opening race of the 2014 GP2 season. For the two Racing Engineering drivers it would be very much a case of learning to work with their new team, this being the first time that Stefano Coletti would drive one of the Spanish cars and for Raffaele Marciello his only previous experience was one day of driving in the November 2013 post-season test, also held at Abu Dhabi.

Raffaele Marciello
Raffaele Marciello

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

The first session, on Tuesday morning, saw many of the teams wait before taking to the circuit as the track surface was dusty and it was some ninety minutes before the cars were able to lap quickly.

The session was interrupted twice by red flags but both Stefano and Lello were on the pace with Stefano setting a lap of 1:52.121s to finish 11th after 10 laps whilst Lello was! just half a second slower on 1:52.621s after 16 laps finishing 16th.

Lap times continued to fall in the afternoon session as track conditions improved and Stefano reduced his time to 1:49.963s for the 8th quickest lap with Lello just 0.3 seconds slower than his teammate on 1:50.261s for 14th. Both Racing Engineering drivers completing over 20 laps each.

Day 2, Wednesday, saw the morning session badly disrupted by four red flags but both drivers were able to put in plenty of laps as they continued to work on the set-up of the cars and this time it was Lello who was fastest of the duo with a time of 1:52.024s and Stefano less than 0.2 seconds slower on 1:52.404s. In the afternoon the team concentrated on race simulations, pitstop practice as well as continuing to develop the set-ups so neither driver set a representative lap time.

The final day of testing, Thursday, saw both of the Racing Engineering drivers amongst the quickest runners with Stefano completing 19 laps to finish 7th with a time of 1:50.344s, Lello was right behind the Monegasque driver in 9th with a lap of 1:50.485s after running for an excellent 30 laps. The afternoon session was disrupted by a dust storm and a little rain which meant the lap times were slower than the morning and both drivers concentrated on race simulations so nether man went for a fast lap, Lello setting a time of 1:54.404s with Stefano on 1:55.233s as they completed 33 laps each.

The GP2 teams now travel to Sakhir for a further three days of testing on the 19th, 20th and 21st of March at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: "We had three very productive three days of testing in Abu Dhabi under changing conditions. The grip on the track was increasing during the first two days and today there was quite a bit of wind and sand, even a bit of rain in the afternoon. It was the first time for Stefano Coletti with us and our car, therefore he had to get used to our car and slightly adapt his driving style to it. He saw a lot of potential in the car and we believe we can achieve a good performance together. Lello has been working on the different aspects of the season’s preparation including performance with qualifying runs and several race simulations, but also pit stop training and practice starts. Overall we had a quite positive test here in Abu Dhabi and we will continue to work hard to prepare for the Bahrain test and the first event of the season, which will take place there and we are very much looking forward to already."

Raffaele Marciello: "I think we did a good job during these three days of testing. We did a lot of mileage here in Abu Dhabi and worked a lot on the set up for long runs. Our pace was really, really good. We also have a quite good qualifying pace already. We still need to work on some points, but I think our pace is very, very good. We also practiced pit stops and race starts, so I think we are already in a good position for the first race meeting."

Stefano Coletti: "These were three really good days of testing. It took a while for me to get used to the car and getting to know all personnel at the track. In the end I think we did a good job, we tested a lot of things and everything went well. I think we worked well during the first two days even though I had to get used to everything. But in the end we matched the performance of the others in the qualifying run this morning. And then we had a very quick pace in the race simulation. So in the end I am very happy. Now we have to focus on Bahrain, get more work done there and try to improve a bit more.”

Racing Engineering

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About this article
Series GP2
Article type Testing report
Tags abu dhabi, gp2, racing engineering, raffaele marciello, stefano coletti

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