GP2 Series veteran Luca Filippi sat top of the timesheets on the first day of post-season testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
The Italian was back in action with Scuderia Coloni, who he had rejoined for the final two rounds of the 2012 season at Monza and Singapore, winning at Monza and taking pole at Singapore. He set the early pace in the morning session before spinning, stopping and bringing out a red flag while his car was retrieved. He later returned to track and became the only driver to go below the 1m30s barrier. He then handed his car over to Italian F3 champion Riccardo Agostini.
As they have already taken part in their last GP2 race and will not feature in 2013, Coloni did not have the same pressure to focus on car development and driver evaluation like their rivals. This meant that Daniel de Jong finished the morning second in the team’s other car, 0.34s behind Filippi.
Nigel Melker was the fastest man for a team that will take part in 2013, having returned to the DAMS team that he raced for in Abu Dhabi 12 months ago. Marcus Ericsson was fourth with Trident Racing, ahead of Lotus GP’s Stephane Richelmi and Carlin’s Rio Haryanto.
Haryanto’s former GP3 teammate and 2012 Auto GP champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was next up for Addax and the fastest of those never to have raced in GP2 before. Stefano Coletti, the only man with a confirmed 2013 seat, was eighth with Rapax, just ahead of GP3 champion Mitch Evans, driving with the same Arden squad that took him to the title and only eight tenths off the pace as the fastest GP2 debutant (although he did get a prize drive in the series’ development car last week).
Jake Rosenzweig completed the top ten for Addax, ahead of Evans’ Arden teammate Simon Trummer, Racing Engineering debutant Andre Negrao and fellow Brazilian Felipe Nasr with Carlin. Alexander Rossi was 14th for Caterham ahead of GP3 graduate Daniel Abt (Lotus), F3 champion Daniel Juncadella (Rapax) and series returnee Pal Varhaug (iSport).
Kevin Giovesi was 18th on his debut with Lazarus, ahead of Trident’s Julian Leal and his own teammate Rene Binder. Lucas Foresti was 21st for Caterham ahead of his FR3.5 teammate Arthur Pic (DAMS), F3 Open drivers Facundo Regalia and Gianmarco Raimondo and Agostini.
Ocean Racing Technology had Kevin Ceccon and Ramon Pineiro in their cars, but neither completed very many laps – Pinieiro not even getting the chance to set a time during the day.
De Jong was quickest in the afternoon, 0.159s ahead of Ericsson but six tenths down on Filippi’s morning benchmark. Juncadella took a fine third on his first day in a GP2 car, 0.007s ahead of his more experienced teammate Coletti. Rossi took P5 ahead of Richelmi and Quaife-Hobbs, with Evans in the top ten again in eighth ahead of Rosenzweig and Giovesi.
Melker, Trummer, Foresti and Negrao were next up, ahead of Varhaug and Pic, who spun and brought out the red flags. Agostini, Abt, Raimondo and Leal completed the top 20 ahead of Nasr, Binder (another to spin and cause a stoppage), Regalia and Haryanto.
There are a few driver changes for day two of the test. Richelmi returns to Trident in place of Ericsson, with his place at Lotus being taken by Sergio Canamasas. Melker and Regalia will switch to Racing Engineering, being replaced by Sergey Sirotkin and Jolyon Palmer at DAMS and iSport respectively. Agostini will be replaced by Italian F3 rival Eddie Cheever, who will again share the workload with Filippi.