Pastor Maldonado sets the pace

Rapax veteran quickest in opening day of first 2010 collective test session in Le Castellet

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By Franck Drui

23 March 2010 - 17:32
Pastor Maldonado sets the pace

The sixth season of the GP2 Series kicked off today at Paul Ricard with a three-day official test session on a 3D configuration track. This week, all twenty four cars will be using Bridgestone medium compounds for the first two days and will conclude their tests on soft tyres.

It was a slow morning session in Le Castellet. An unstopping drizzle made the track conditions quite tricky for the drivers, and the teams had no other choice but to use wet tyres throughout the three-hour session, with the exception of Trident’s newest addition Johnny Cecotto who dared to try on slicks in the very last stages of the morning session as the track got a bit dryer. The young Venezuelan ended on the top spot, two and half seconds clear from Coloni’s Alberto Valerio. Five drivers chose to do only one installation lap: iSport’s pair Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey, Rapax duo Pastor Maldonado and Luiz Razia, and DPR Michael Herck.

A more clement weather greeted the GP2 field at the start of the afternoon session shortly red flagged four times. A dry track saw the laptimes improve significantly with all drivers in slick tyres. Confirmed yesterday as part of Rapax line-up, Pastor Maldonado claimed the top spot in the last ten minutes of the session clocking in a time of a 1:12.987. The Venezuelan was closely followed by rookie Jules Bianchi at ART and sophomore Giedo van der Garde at Barwa Addax.

The test session will continue tomorrow at 9am local time.

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps
01. Maldonado Rapax 1m12.987s 39
02. Bianchi ART Grand Prix 1m13.074s 38
03. Van der Garde Barwa Addax 1m13.078s 28
04. D’Ambrosio DAMS 1m13.124s 32
05. Razia Rapax 1m13.151s 32
06. Vietoris Racing Engineering 1m13.203s 28
07. Ricci DPR 1m13.215s 19
08. Kral Super Nova 1m13.244s 37
09. Clos Racing Engineering 1m13.301s 23
10. Turvey iSport 1m13.331s 39
11. Zaugg Trident 1m13.362s 41
12. Ericsson Super Nova 1m13.437s 40
13. Herck DPR 1m13.455s 33
14. Bird ART Grand Prix 1m13.472s 29
15. Perez Barwa Addax 1m13.523s 32
16. Leimer Ocean Racing 1m13.560s 18
17. Valsecchi iSport 1m13.654s 40
18. Cecotto Trident 1m13.678s 29
19. Pic Arden International 1m13.729s 31
20. Valerio Coloni 1m13.803s 32
21. Gonzalez Arden International 1m13.964s 32
22. Tung DAMS 1m14.067s 41
23. Chilton Ocean Racing 1m14.817s 35
24. Arabadzhiev Coloni 1m15.242s 25

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