Racing Engineering man tops first pre-season test day at Sakhir
The second GP2 Series pre-season test session opened today at Bahrain International Circuit on a dusty track and in hot temperatures. This week, the teams and drivers will be busy preparing for the 2015 season which sees the introduction of the DRS. Pirelli have selected the Hard and Soft compounds for the three days.
The field remains mostly unchanged with only two new faces joining Hilmer Motorsport this week: GP3 graduate Nick Yelloly partners GP2 returnee Nigel Melker. The last change compared to the first pre-season test session line up sees Sergio Canamasas move to MP Motorsport.
When the pitlane went green, the cars fed onto the track for installation laps. It was rookie Nobuharu Matsushita who set the early pace until André Negrao topped the timing sheets one hour into the session. His laptime was bettered by one tenth by Sergio Canamasas (who moved to MP Motorsport for this week’s session). It was a rather quiet morning as the temperatures kept on rising.
With one hour left on the clock, Nathanaël Berthon moved up to P1, but Marco Sorensen went two hundredths quicker to take the top spot. In the final thirty minutes, rookie Norman Nato edged the Carlin man out, but Mitch Evans improved further and topped the timesheet with a laptime of 1:42.479, one tenth better than the Frenchman. At the chequered flag, behind Evans and Nato, Sorensen finished third ahead of Berthon, Julian Leal, Stoffel Vandoorne, Canamasas, Alexander Rossi, Negrao and Pierre Gasly.
The afternoon session kicked off in scorching heat and with Vandoorne first out on track. Arthur Pic set the early pace before Lynn went quickest. At the one hour mark, Jordan King claimed the top spot going four tenths faster than fellow countryman Lynn. With one hour left on the clock, Nato dipped under 1m42s, but Sorensen improved further and went top before Nato found some extra pace to reclaim P1.
Thirty minutes before the chequered flag, King was back on top with a laptime of 1:41.494 – two tenths better than the Arden man. In the dying minutes, the proceedings were halted after Evans stopped at Turn 3. The session was not restarted and King ended up on top ahead of Evans, Sergey Sirotkin (who moved up to third on his last attempt), Nato, Vandoorne, Sorensen, Leal, Berthon, Gasly and Artem Markelov.
Tomorrow’s morning session will start at 09.00, local time.