Davide Rigon will get one last opportunity to finally cement the lead seat at Trident Racing for this year's GP2 Series, while the championship's other remaining vacancies have attracted a couple of late hopefuls to the group test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
James Jakes and Ricardo Teixiera will line-up with DPR and Trident respectively for the three-day test that forms the final official preparation for teams and drivers aiming for May's season-opener on the same circuit. While most of the grid has already inked deals, Trident remains with its two seats unfilled, and DPR has the berth alongside Michael Herck unoccupied.
Jakes already has GP2 experience, having competed in the current GP2 Asia campaign with Super Nova, but Teixiera will arrive in Barcelona somewhat blind as he bids for a late graduation from F3. The Angolan will try out for the Trident team which ran Hamad Al Fardan in the most recent group test, at Paul Ricard, while Jakes takes over from Giacomo Ricci, who also ran with DPR in the Asia Series.
The number one seat at Trident looks increasingly likely to go to Superleague Formula champion Rigon after he was given another chance to acclimatise himself to the latest GP2 machine, but the Italian remains locked in negotiation to find the budget to race and is hoping for a good showing to attract backers.
"In these last three days of testing, I will have to continue the work begun at Paul Ricard," Rigon commented, "I know the [Barcelona] track very well and, for that reason, we can fully dedicate the test to the development of the car, going in search of the best set-up for the first round of the championship.
"In France, the gaps between drivers were minor and a small mistake lost you several positions [on the timesheet]. For that reason, it will be very important to accumulate the greatest number of miles possible to improve my feeling with the car, while trying to constantly be on top."
While Rigon, Jakes and Teixiera hope to impress sufficiently to be on the grid come May, other drivers know that they have to work just as hard in Barcelona to ensure that they head back to the Circuit de Catalunya in good shape for the opening round.
"The Paul Ricard test was pretty good - it was basically the first three days of testing in 2009, so the opening days were spent adapting to the new, more powerful car," Arden rookie Edoardo Mortara revealed, "We weren't really searching for the top times or a lap record, just building confidence with every lap.
"This week we have the final three days of pre-season testing at Barcelona. I won there in the F3 Euroseries in 2007, but we only used the small circuit that uses the final section of the track, so the last part will be the same, but the first half will be new for me. I think it should be okay and the track should suit the set-up of the car.