Pierre Gasly ended this week’s pre-season test at the top of the timing sheets after he lapped the Circuit de Catalunya with an impressive 1:27.368. The PREMA Racing driver and Red Bull Junior driver finished ahead of Norman Nato, and Italian rookie Antonio Giovinazzi.
The final day of the first pre-season test got going under blue sky conditions but cold temperatures – when the pitlane opened, Status Grand Prix driver Meindert van Buuren was the first of many drivers to make his way onto the circuit with the hard compound tyre. Daniel de Jong set the early pace in the opening stages, but was quickly dropped to second place by Nicholas Latifi when the Canadian became the first driver to dip under the 1m30s marker.
Sergey Sirotkin, who was quickest on the opening day of testing, improved on Latifi’s time before Nato was able to top the timesheets with a 1:28.170. Just over an hour later, Alex Lynn broke the 1m28s barrier when he took to the circuit in his DAMS car with a set of soft compound tyres, and lapped the circuit with a 1:27.841.
Sirotkin caused a brief red flag period, after he beached his car in the gravel trap at the end of the main straight. At the restart of the session, Gasly improved on his personal best time from the day before, whilst Nato and Giovinazzi were two tenths slower than the Frenchman.
Giovinazzi caused the second red flag period of the day, when the Italian stopped at the entrance of turn four. The remainder of the session, was trouble-free and Gasly remained unchallenged until the chequered flag. Nato, Giovinazzi, Lynn, Luca Ghiotto, De Jong, Mitch Evans, Latifi, Jordan King and Sirotkin rounded out the top ten.
Raffaele Marciello was the first driver out on circuit when the afternoon session, whilst Rapax’s Arthur Pic set the early pace on the prime tyre.
One hour into the session, contact between Marciello and Rene Binder caused a third red flag period.
Many drivers chose to use the final part of the final day to complete long runs and teams worked on their pit stop times through plenty of practice. Artem Markelov went quickest ahead of Pic in the closing stages and fifteen minutes before the end of the session, van Buuren stopped at turn twelve, causing one more red flag before the end of the first pre-season test.
Malja went to the top of the timesheets with a 1:28.719 ahead of fellow countryman, Jimmy Eriksson who had managed to find an edge over Markelov. At the chequered flag, Oliver Rowland, Sergio Canamasas, Pic, Van Buuren, Nabil Jeffri, Lynn and Binder completed the top ten finishers.
MORNING SESSION RESULTS:
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AFTERNOON SESSION RESULTS:
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The second GP2 Series pre-season test will take place at Jerez de la Frontera, March 29-31.