Michael Herck tops Day 3
Scuderia Coloni driver quickest in Abu Dhabi in GP2 Asia Series pre-season tests
A second two-day testing session began this Sunday at the Yas Marina Circuit but on a shortened track configuration of 4.730 kms that will also be the configuration for the fourth GP2 Asia Series season's opening round next Thursday. And with the opening round just around the corner, today's focus for most of the field was on race simulations and finding the right set up for this new layout.
Lotus ART's Jules Bianchi set the early pace this morning, and by the hour mark Josef Kral at Arden went top in a 1:37.804 ahead of last session's quickest man Giedo van der Garde at Addax. The Czech dominated the rest of the field for most of the session which was briefly interrupted by three red flags - courtesy of Julian Leal, Mikhail Aleshin and Oliver Turvey. But with less than an hour left on the clock, Carlin's Max Chilton briefly moved to P1 until Bianchi clocked in a best laptime of 1:37.365. He then improved his time by two tenths with Max Chilton at Carlin and Kral in tow. Michael Herck at Scuderia Coloni slipped into P2, a shy tenth away from the Frenchman, but in the dying minutes of the session iSport's Marcus Ericsson went under the 1m37s barrier in a 1:36.912 while Dani Clos at Racing Engineering moved to P2. Things seemed to be over for the morning, but Kral put his head down one last time and clocked in a best laptime of 1:36.609, three tenths clear of Ericsson.
When the afternoon session opened, it was Davide Valsecchi who was the first one to go under the 1m37s barrier at the wheel of his Team AirAsia car, but soon after, Kral bettered the Italian's laptime by one tenth to top the timing sheet again. On the two-hour mark Bianchi proved once more that he is in top form by going quickest in a 1:36.592 while his rookie teammate Esteban Gutierrez moved up to P3, just three tenths behind. The order at the top remained the same for most of the session until Coloni's Herck improved his personal best laptime and moved up to P2 ahead of Gutierrez and Kral. The afternoon session was red flagged three times, the last interruption happening with just fifteen minutes left on the clock. In the dying moments, Valsecchi improved once more and went top with a laptime of a 1:36.477, but was ultimately edged out from the top spot by Herck - the Romanian just one hundredth of a second quicker.
This two-day test session will conclude tomorrow on the same track configuration.
-source: gp2 series