26 March 2010
Maldonado takes control of Ricard test
Maldonado completed his clean sweep by topping the timing sheet on day three in Le Castellet. He clocked a best lap of 1min 09.784sec during the final afternoon, but was being stalked by various rookies, including Bianchi, who claimed the morning's top spot just ahead of team-mate Bird. Running on track layout 2D, Oliver Turvey had initially come in third, but his times were later deleted after his iSport entry was found to be underweight, along with DAMS' Ho-Pin Tung. It was thus newcomer Christian Vietoris who ended up with the third best time of the session ahead of Maldonado.
Unable to complete one lap on day two following an unfortunate crash at the pit-lane exit, Marcus Ericsson ended up in fifth place ahead of Clos, Jérôme d'Ambrosio, Charles Pic, Sergio Perez and Valerio.
In the afternoon, despite being stopped by six red flags, the young guns kept showing their strong form. Kral dominated for most of the session, until Vietoris took control of the field with one hour left on the clock. At the same point, Maldonado moved up to P2, before the session was halted one last time owing to a collision between Ericsson and Adrian Zaugg 15 minutes before the end.
When the session was given the green light to resume, the remainder of the pack got back into action and saw Maldonado claim the top spot in the last two minutes, going one tenth quicker than Bianchi. Both men lapped the track in less than 1min 10secs, with Ocean's Fabio Leimer third ahead of Vietoris, Bird, Kral, Ericsson, Cecotto, Clos and van der Garde.
The GP2 paddock will gather again in two weeks' time in Barcelona for the final pre-season test on 7-9 April.
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