Davide Valsecchi leads the way in Jerez

DAMS driver quickest on Day 1 of 2012 pre-season test


By Olivier Ferret

28 February 2012 - 18:18
Davide Valsecchi leads the way in (...)

The GP2 Series paddock gathered in Jerez de la Frontera this week for the first of two official pre-season test sessions. After the winter break, the thirteen teams were eager to hit the track and get back to action. The field welcomed newcomers Venezuela GP Lazarus as the thirteenth team in 2012 and 2013.

Amidst many familiar faces and some reshuffle of the grid, nine rookies made their first appearance today: British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr, 2011 GP3 Series runner-up James Calado, GP3 graduates Vittorio Ghirelli, Simon Trummer, Tom Dillmann, Nigel Melker and Rio Haryanto (although, some of them took part in the 2011 GP2 Finals last November), Fabio Onidi and Daniel de Jong.

The Series sole tyre supplier Pirelli has provided P Zero slick Hard (Prime) and Medium (Option) compounds for this three-day session.

The day opened in cold temperatures, but in sunny conditions. The twenty-six drivers took to the track quickly for installation laps in order to get to grips with their machine. Carlin’s Haryanto topped the timesheets after one hour gone in the session, but it wasn’t long until Melker at Ocean bettered the Indonesian’s laptime by four tenths. Rodolfo Gonzalez now with Caterham Racing went momentarily top until Lotus GP’s Esteban Gutierrez took control of the timesheets, one tenth quicker than Marcus Ericsson at iSport in P2. As the track warmed up, the Swedish ace went top, but in the final hour, Davide Valsecchi who has moved to DAMS this season improved with every lap until he clocked a laptime of 1:26.014 and remained on top until the chequered flag. His closest rival, newcomer Onidi at Scuderia Coloni finished two tenths behind the Italian. GP2 returnee Jolyon Palmer now with Barwa Addax ended P3 ahead of Ericsson, Gutierrez, Calado, Stéphane Richelmi, Stefano Coletti, Dani Clos and Melker.

The session was briefly red flagged after Dillmann ran a bit wide and clipped the barrier damaging his Ocean car and ending his morning session prematurely.

The temperature rose again and when the afternoon session began, Fabio Leimer was the first one to set the pace. Valsecchi however continued on his good form and topped the timesheets and his laptime remained unbeaten until a quick red flag brought a halt to proceedings after Ghirelli stopped on the track. At the restart, Ericsson was rapidly on the pace and set the quickest laptime. Halfway through the session, Richelmi went top, but the iSport man reclaimed P1 going 5 hundredths faster than the Trident driver. He remained undefeated until the chequered flag. In a last minute effort, both Lotus GP drivers moved P2 and P3, Gutierrez ahead of Calado. Leimer, Richelmi, Johnny Cecotto, Valsecchi, Berthon, Josef Kral and Max Chilton rounded up the Top 10.

The testing will resume tomorrow at 9am local time.

Morning session

1. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1:26.014 23
2. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1:26.217 23
3. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1:26.219 31
4. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:26.266 21
5. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP 1:26.408 22
6. James Calado Lotus GP 1:26.649 15
7. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:26.888 23
8. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coletti 1:26.891 21
9. Dani Clos Rapax 1:26.944 13
10. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1:26.944 16
11. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1:26.971 28
12. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 1:26.990 20
13. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1:27.013 14
14. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:27.124 18
15. Max Chilton Carlin 1:27.187 24
16. Simon Trummer Arden International 1:27.408 22
17. Luiz Razia Arden International 1:27.437 15
18. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team 1:27.519 15
19. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1:27.842 22
20. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 1:27.917 14
21. Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:28.018 26
22. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1:28.076 19
23. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:28.385 26
24. Daniel De Jong Rapax 1:28.438 26
25. Tom Dillmann Ocean Racing Technology 1:28.985 6
26. Vittorio Ghirelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:29.642 28

Afternoon Session

1. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:26.407 26
2. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP 1:26.496 27
3. James Calado Lotus GP 1:26.586 29
4. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:26.776 32
5. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:27.017 25
6. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1:27.138 16
7. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1:27.179 32
8. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 1:27.205 28
9. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team 1:27.236 24
10. Max Chilton Carlin 1:27.237 26
11. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1:27.238 17
12. Dani Clos Rapax 1:27.243 27
13. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1:27.253 28
14. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:27.496 28
15. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 1:27.543 33
16. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1:27.580 28
17. Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:27.799 19
18. Simon Trummer Arden International 1:27.838 30
19. Luiz Razia Arden international 1:27.867 20
20. Tom Dillmann Ocean Racing Technology 1:27.871 16
21. Daniel de Jong Rapax 1:27.914 24
22. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1:28.096 32
23. Vittorio Ghirelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:29.117 20
24. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 1:29.472 18
25. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1:29.492 27
26. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1:31.159 18


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