GP2 Asia Series inaugurates Yas Marina Circuit Filippi and Valsecchi quickest in pre-season first testing day The third GP2 Asia Series will open next weekend as Formula One inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix support race. Prior to...
GP2 Asia Series inaugurates Yas Marina Circuit
Filippi and Valsecchi quickest in pre-season first testing day
The third GP2 Asia Series will open next weekend as Formula One inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix support race. Prior to this grand event, the GP2 Asia field gathered this week for a two-day test session held at the Yas Marina circuit. It is the first time that the much-anticipated venue welcomes racing cars and its beautiful layout has already procured good sensations for the drivers.
The morning session was all about learning the 5.555km long track, but on a very dirty track and high temperature, many racers chose to go for installation laps and then patiently wait for the most daring to put rubber on the track. Davide Valsecchi at iSport topped the timing sheet ahead of veteran Luca Filippi at Meritus while rookie Christian Vietoris at Dams rounded up the Top 3. Other rookies Alexander Rossi (Ocean Racing Technology), Sam Bird (ART Grand Prix and Daniel Zampieri (Piquet GP) all finished in the Top 10.
Davide Valsecchi (iSport International): "We were fastest this morning and we had a great pace again this afternoon. But the track conditions between this morning and this afternoon changed drastically, especially with the temperatures dropping 10o.C. This morning, the track was not that dirty, but it lacked a lot of grip. When I went out on new tyres this afternoon, the sun was already down and the track was a little bit colder so it was much quicker. We should see again slower times tomorrow morning.
It's a beautiful setting here. Yesterday, when I was running around the track I saw grandstands everywhere. It's very impressive: you have one every corner and I really hope that it will be full for the race. My favourite part of the track is in sector 1, after the start/finish line. The corners there are really fast. The end of the very long straight in sector 3 with the big braking point is also extremely important because I think this is where you can overtake. And I have to say that the track lightning system is excellent: we can even see clearer than during the day!"
The afternoon session started at 4pm local time in order to finish at night time and test the lightning system of the track since the Formula One Grand Prix next week will be held at sunset. The track conditions improved of course improved a bit and the experience of Filippi and Roldan Rodriguez at Scuderia Coloni paid off with the Italian setting of the quickest laptime as the temperature decreased and the sky darkened. Meritus showed great pace today with second driver Diego Nunes completing the top 3. Bird, Vietoris, Zampieri and Max Chilton (Barwa Addax) were the quickest rookies of the day.
Luca Filippi (Meritus): "I have to say that we are very proud to be the first ones to test on this track. It is a long circuit with many corners and it's not so easy to remember at the beginning. We did a really good job today. And you have to remember that Meritus is only racing in GP2 Asia, so for the car to be set-up perfectly from the get go is quite the accomplishment. We wanted to be really fast this afternoon because we knew that in cooler conditions and with more rubber on the circuit, the track would get faster and we wanted to be the quickest. This result gives us great confidence for tomorrow and next week's race weekend. Tomorrow, we will do a lot of pitstop practice and maybe some race distance to see how our pace is.
"In terms of layout, the first thing you see is the facilities - which are amazing. Here, there are two great fast corners. My favourite parts are the first three corners and then the last two. It's where all the fun happens and where you can prove your driver's skills. Overall, it's a really nice circuit."
Tomorrow's second testing day will start at 11am, local time and end at 7pm.