Team AirAsia enjoyed a positive opening day of GP2 Asia pre-season testing in Abu Dhabi.
Both of the new GP2 entrant's drivers for the test, Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi, went out first onto the circuit at the beginning of the morning session. A sandstorm on the previous day meant that the track was very dusty. This limited the drivers to installation laps before the session was brought to an early conclusion to allow for cleaning of the circuit.
In the afternoon session Razia was again first out into wet conditions, completing 40 laps with a best time of 1m51.49. Valsecchi, who went out later in the session when the circuit was drier, completed 24 laps and set a quickest lap time of 1m51.01. Valsecchi's time was good enough for 11th on the leaderboard for the afternoon session, with Razia in 18th.
Team Manager Phil Spencer was happy with how the day had gone for the team, despite the disruption by the weather. “I'm very pleased with how it all went today,” said Spencer. “The weather played a big part today, with a lot of sand on the track this morning and then rain at lunchtime, which actually cleaned the track and helped this afternoon.
“We worked through the plans with aero-testing this morning and making sure both drivers were comfortable in the car and with the engineers and crew. So all in all we had a very productive day. We were not necessarily the quickest out there, but we learnt a lot. I'm really pleased with how it all looked too. The cars, the presentation of the garage, and how everyone in the team performed.”
Humphrey Corbett, Chief Engineer, was equally happy with the day's running. “I am very pleased with how today went, we couldn't have asked for a better day,” he said. “The cars went famously, we might have had a few minor issues but the drivers are happy, and nothing went drastically wrong, so we are very pleased indeed. We decided to save our tyres for tomorrow whereas most teams ran new tyres towards the end of the session, and we will find out a little more about just how quick the car is tomorrow. But the drivers did a fantastic job, so all in all a good day!”
Valsecchi added: “The condition of the track today wasn't great, I think it was dirtier than normal – they tried to clean it for the afternoon session, which helped, but then it started to rain, so we lost two and a half hours waiting for it to dry out. In the end we had the last two hours to work with, and we weren't perfect but the car and seat are new and the conditions tricky, so it was hard to bring the car to the limit. Tomorrow we will look after the performance and see where we are standing at the end of the day.”
Razia commented: “This is a great track to test at, although this morning the conditions were quite difficult. Early on we were concentrating on doing some straight runs and collecting data. In the afternoon we focused more on performance, but we still have a lot of things to try, especially with a new car on new tyres. The end part of the day wasn't so great, but we have a lot of information that we will now analyse so we can be ready for tomorrow.”
Team AirAsia are yet to confirm their driver lineup for the Asia Series, although Razia has confirmed to GPUpdate.net that he will race for the team for both the Asia and Main Series campaigns. The delay in announcing their pairing could be to down to the team's links to Team Lotus, who are yet to announce reserve drivers for the coming season.