Pastor Maldonado has continued where he left off at Paul Ricard in the previous collective GP2 test as he topped the times for the fourth consecutive test day.

Maldonado set the day's best time with a 1m27.457s during the afternoon session, while the GP2 rookies showed that the 2010 Championship will be ultra competitive.

The morning session was a slow starter, with young British driver Max Chilton and Racing Engineering's German rookie Christian Vietoris topping the times during the first two hours of the three hour session.

Once the final hour started, the times started to tumble and the best time by the young German was bettered by Dutchman Giedo van der Garde of Addax. Van der Garde's best effort would see him secure top spot for the morning session.

Behind the Addax racer, Sam Bird posted the second fastest time of the morning, thus knocking early pace setter Vietoris down to third. Bird's ART Grand Prix team mate Jules Bianchi soon moved into fourth, before Ho-Pin Tung caused a red flag, having made contact with the barriers at turn five.

Once the three hour session was restarted, the top three stayed as they were, while the flying Venezuelan Maldonado was setting the fourth fastest time of the session.

Behind the top five, Belgium racer Jerome d'Ambrosio moved into sixth ahead of the Racing Steps Foundation backed iSport International car of Oliver Turvey, the Arden International car of Charles Pic, South African Adrian Zaugg at Trident and Czech rookie Josef Kral rounded out the top ten times. The top thirteen cars were within a second of the session's fastest time.

Morning session times:

Position Name Nationality Team Time AM
1 Giedo Van Der Garde NED Barwa Addax Team 1:28.145s
2 Sam Bird GBR ART Grand Prix 1:28.283s
3 Christian Vietoris GER Racing Engineering 1:28.323s
4 Pastor Maldonado VEN Rapax 1:28.669s
5 Jules Bianchi FRA ART Grand Prix 1:28.814s
6 Jerome D’Ambrosio BEL DAMS 1:28.855s
7 Oliver Turvey GBR iSport International 1:28.874s
8 Charles Pic FRA Arden International 1:28.962s
9 Adrian Zaugg RSA Trident Racing 1:29.018s
10 Josef Kral CZE Super Nova Racing 1:29.020s
11 Michael Herck ROU DPR 1:29.076s
12 Dani Clos ESP Racing Engineering 1:29.093s
13 Luiz Razia BRA Rapax 1:29.126s
14 Fabio Leimer SUI Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.258s
15 Giacomo Ricci ITA DPR 1:29.265s
16 Sergio Perez MEX Barwa Addax Team 1:29.318s
17 Johnny Cecotto VEN Trident Racing 1:29.376s
18 Marcus Ericsson SWE Super Nova Racing 1:29.439s
19 Max Chilton GBR Ocean Racing Technology 1:29.627s
20 Vladimir Arabadzhiev BUL Scuderia Coloni 1:29.727s
21 Davide Valsecchi ITA iSport International 1:29.755s
22 Alberto Valerio BRA Scuderia Coloni 1:29.868s
23 Ho-Pin Tung CHN DAMS 1:30.599s
24 Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Arden International 1:30.625s

The afternoon session saw the first part of the session dominated by ART Grand Prix Bianchi and Bird, who were top of the times with a one, two – until DAMS d'Ambrosio joined the party and went straight to the top of the timing sheets. After this, it was the turn of Maldonado to set the session's fastest time.

Light rain then hit the circuit and this gave Bird the chance to go top of the times, ahead of team mate Bianchi and Racing Engineering's Dani Clos. GP2 Asia Champion Davide Valsecchi set the fourth fastest time in the session after the rain had passed over, while Swedish youngster Marcus Ericsson climbed into second position.

With fifteen minutes of the three hour afternoon session remaining, Maldonado set the day's fastest time and secured himself top spot at the end of day one of three at Barcelona. Behind the flying Venezuelan was Bird and Vietoris. Pic snuck in the fourth fastest with Ericsson in tow. Bianchi ended the afternoon as the fifth fastest rookie in sixth overall, ahead of Romanian Michael Herck, Valsecchi, Luiz Razia and Kral. Proving how tight and competitive the 2010 GP2 season will be, the top fourteen cars were within a second of Maldonado's fastest time.

Afternoon test Times:

Position Name Nationality Team Time PM
1 Pastor Maldonado VEN Rapax 1:27.457s
2 Sam Bird GBR ART Grand Prix 1:27.453s
3 Christian Vietoris GER Racing Engineering 1:27.531s
4 Charles Pic FRA Arden International 1:27.661s
5 Marcus Ericsson SWE Super Nova Racing 1:27.705s
6 Jules Bianchi FRA ART Grand Prix 1:27.851s
7 Michael Herck ROU DPR 1:27.946s
8 Davide Valsecchi ITA iSport International 1:27.969s
9 Luiz Razia BRA Rapax 1:28.043s
10 Josef Kral CZE Super Nova Racing 1:28.058s
11 Dani Clos ESP Racing Engineering 1:28.107s
12 Giedo Van Der Garde NED Barwa Addax Team 1:28.278s
13 Sergio Perez MEX Barwa Addax Team 1:28.296s
14 Oliver Turvey GBR iSport International 1:28.431s
15 Alberto Valerio BRA Scuderia Coloni 1:28.471s
16 Jerome D’Ambrosio BEL DAMS 1:28.630s
17 Fabio Leimer SUI Ocean Racing Technology 1:28.715s
18 Max Chilton GBR Ocean Racing Technology 1:28.803s
19 Adrian Zaugg RSA Trident Racing 1:28.818s
20 Vladimir Arabadzhiev BUL Scuderia Coloni 1:29.123s
21 Ho-Pin Tung CHN DAMS 1:29.136s
22 Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Arden International 1:29.508s
23 Johnny Cecotto VEN Trident Racing 1:29.933s
24 Giacomo Ricci ITA DPR

Photo credit: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Media Service