Will Bratt made an excellent impression during official GP2 Series testing at Jerez in Spain this week, the 21-year-old producing typically strong pace on only his third ever appearance behind the wheel of one of the F1 support category's cars.
Although the British racer's progress was halted unexpectedly early by a blown engine during the second afternoon of running on Thursday, Bratt was still able to post the 13th best time of the day with a lap of 1 minute 27.137 seconds.
Impressively, the Oxon-based driver was also the fastest rookie during the rain-affected morning session with a time of 1m 29.527s placing him a superb fifth quickest behind four GP2 regulars.
Driving for the Italian PartyPokerRacing.com Scuderia Coloni team, Bratt bedded himself back in to GP2 machinery quickly during his first day at Jerez on Wednesday, having last run in one of the Renault-powered cars almost exactly one year ago.
Posting a best lap of 1m 26.990s in the morning, improvements weren't possible during the afternoon due to a problem with the hydraulics which resulted in an early end to the day after fluid leaked into the clutch.
Although disappointed to have had both days affected by problems, Bratt nonetheless shone on Spanish soil this week and is keen to make a swift return to GP2 which is his goal for 2010 as he progresses ever closer to his dream o fF1.
“It's been great to be back in a GP2 car and although our running was affected by the hydraulic issue on the first day and then the engine failure on my final afternoon, I'm pleased with how things went in general and I think we were able to prove I deserve a place on the GP2 grid next year,” Bratt said.
“To be fifth fastest on Thursday morning in difficult, wet conditions was fantastic – especially being the best of the rookies. In the afternoon I was 12th fastest on my first set of tyres, even though I lost time on my best lap. We were confident we could be in the top eight overall but before I was able to get a run on my last set of new tyres, the engine blew so that was the end of the day for us.”
Next on the agenda for Bratt is the all-important final event of the PartyPokerRacing.it Euroseries 3000 Championship which takes place just over a week from now, October 17-18, at the home of the Italian F1 Grand Prix, Monza in Italy – a track he has never previously visited.
Heading into the last two races of the season third in the driver standings, just six points shy of the championship lead, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star is aiming to challenge for his first international title. Should Bratt become the 2009 Euroseries 3000 Champion, he will also win a funded drive in the upcoming GP2 Asia Series.