Red Bull Junior Pierre Gasly leads test day two


Pierre Gasly ended the second day of GP2 Series pre-season testing at the top of the timing sheets in his PREMA Racing car, as drivers competed in cold conditions around Circuit de Catalunya.

Gasly and Meindert van Burren of Status Grand Prix were the first two drivers to make their way around the circuit when the track went green to indicate the beginning of the morning session, but were quickly followed by their fellow competitors as the Red Bull Junior driver set the early pace with a timing of 1:30.823.

Jordan King soon bettered the time set by Gasly by four tenths of a second in order to go straight to the top of the timing sheets. King remained in first position when there was a short red flag period caused by Antonio Giovinazzi, who stopped on the main straight just forty minutes into the session.

At the restart, Giovinazzi’s fellow Italian, Raffaele Marciello, was the first man to dip under the 1m30s mark but ART Grand Prix driver Nobuharu Matsushita quickly went to the top of the leader board with a laptime of 1:28.690. The Japanese driver’s teammate Sergey Sirotkin took the top spot on a set of prime tyres and remained unchallenged for the rest of the session, leaving him quickest in the morning for the second day running.

Sirotkin lead Gasly and King whilst Norman Nato, Marciello, Mitch Evans, Rene Binder, Marvin Kirchhöfer, Artem Markelov and Luca Ghiotto completed the rest of the top ten finishers.

Oliver Rowland kicked off the afternoon session with a quick 1:29.922 when conditions became slightly warmer and remained dry; unlike the day before when drivers tested the wet driving skills in damp and gloomy conditions.

After his problems in the morning, Giovinazzi lapped quickest when he went a total of 0.8s ahead of the former Formula Renault 3.5 Champion.

The session came to a halt twice within the afternoon, firstly with Russia’s Markelov and closely followed by Sean Gelael with both drivers stopping in the gravel trap at turn five – a place that had caught drivers out the day before also.

In the closing hour of the session, the soft compound made an appearance and it was Pierre Gasly that took advantage and went into first position when he put in an incredibly quick lap time of 1:27.703. The PREMA Racing driver went 1.076s ahead of King who had gone quickest earlier in the session.

The top two remained the same when the final flag was waved and were closely followed by Rapax’s Arthur Pic, Danïel de Jong, Rowland, Rene Binder, Jimmy Eriksson, Gustav Malja and Ghiotto.

Friday will mark the final day the first GP2 Series 2016 pre-season test and will get underway at 09.00am local time, around Circuit de Catalunya.