Barwa Addax's Giedo van der Garde ended the first two-day GP2 test event with the fastest time of all the sessions, as the teams got down to some serious work and the track started to rubber in some grip after its winter hiatus.
The morning session was delayed because of heavy fog impairing visibility, but once the sun burned through there were no further problems with the weather or with track conditions unlike the first day of testing.
The early pace setters were Scuderia Coloni's James Jakes, Ocean Racing's Andrea Caldarelli and Dams' Romain Grosjean, who had set the fastest time of all during the first day's running. Fellow Frenchman Jules Bianchi then took over the top spot in the Lotus ART, and was only briefly bested by van der Garde before Bianchi then set the morning's fastest laptime of 1:50.007s, which still did not beat Grosjean's fastest time of the previous day.
The morning session saw three brief red flags: Dani Clos clipped the barrier in the Racing Engineering car, then Mikhail Aleshin caused two more late in the session with spins but avoided any damage to the Carlin car.
Because of the early delay, the teams got only one hour for lunch before the afternoon session was open for business. Sam Bird, after suffering a frustrating first day of testing because of mechanical problems in the iSport that limited him to just five completed laps, made an appearance at the top of the timesheets midway through the afternoon in a much better day's running for the Briton.
Grosjean took over at the top, and after the Frenchman was the only person to dip under 1:50s on Wednesday, this afternoon he was just one of 18 as the teams and drivers really got to grips with their new cars and started pushing on the improving track.
Arden's Josef Kral went top at the two hour mark, but van der Garde now had the measure of his equipment and was going faster and faster, finally achieving an impressive 1:48.499s laptime which was a tenth under the pole position time set ahead of last year's GP2 Asia race at Yas Marina by Oliver Turvey in the old chassis.
Many of the drivers may have been able to improve their times still further on final runs on fresh tyres, but they didn't get the chance because of a late red flag with 15 minutes to go caused by James Jakes shooting off track and making heavy contact with the barrier. While Jakes was uninjured, the barrier itself was the worse for wear and required time-consuming repairs that meant there would be no further testing for the day.
The next two-day test session at Yas Marina starts on Sunday, February 6 commencing at 9am local time.Full details of test session times
are available in the results section.