Lucas Di Grassi tops Buemi in second test day


The Audi Sport ABT team build on a strong first test at Donington Park with Lucas Di Grassi topping the practice times on the second day, as teammate Daniel Abt took up his GP2 commitments.

With Abt away, Di Grassi was able to maximise his track times by using his and Abt’s Renault-Spark car.

While the Audi Sport team impressed in the first day’s morning session, the second day’s morning session saw Jerome D’Ambrosio, testing for China Racing, topping the times with a 1 minute 34.554 seconds time.

D’Ambrosio was not the only potential driver who impressed. In the afternoon session, it was Andretti Autosport‘s Scott Speed who impressed, taking fourth at the end of the day with a 1 minute 32.632 seconds.

Across D’Ambrosio’s garage, Antonio Garcia was able to top the Belgian’s time in the afternoon session with a 1 minute 32.966 seconds taking him to sixth, three places ahead of his fellow China Racing driver.

The China Racing duo and Andretti’s Scott Speed may well be fighting for driver sports, but in the case of GP2 champion Fabio Leimer, it was a case of filling in for an absentee.

Antonio Felix Da Costa of the Amlin Aguri team was unable to take part due to his Red Bull commitments, so Leimer had the chance to drive a Formula E car for the very first time.

“It’s been interesting getting used to the car. It’s something quite different from what I’m used to,” said the driver. “I used race power and qualifying power – there’s a big, big difference between them and I think that will be something quite interesting for the driver.”

While the higher power settings improved the times, they were soon to improve further as the decision to implement a new chicane on the exit to the Old Hairpin for the test days was removed from the track after a number of drivers made contact with it.

The decision opened the door for Di Grassi to set the day’s benchmark, soon grabbing the time of 1 minute 31.973 seconds. The time then remained unbeaten for the rest of the day.

With a lot of the drivers and teams experimenting with low power settings on the first day, the teams began to open the taps more, with Di Grassi enjoying the highest setting.

“It was my first time driving the car with full power and I’m really pleased with the performance,” said di Grassi. “With Daniel [Abt] at Silverstone for GP2, I had the use of two cars so was able to do a lot of work in race mode. We had very little problems and I was very pleased with the way the Abt team worked, and I’m looking forward to getting in the car next week.”

The Abt team were not the only drivers to enjoy good running. Once again, Sebastien Buemi impressed and, while unable to top the times for a second day running, he did take second with a 1 minute 32.089 seconds.

There was further success for Buemi and his e.dams-Renault team, as Nicolas Prost‘s limited running yesterday saw the Frenchman completing the most laps of the day with 56 undertaken.

The top three was rounded off by Nick Heidfeld of the Venturi GP team, who set a 1 minute 32.373 seconds. It was rather more unfortunate for teammate Stephane Sarrazin who could only muster thirteenth place.