Crash.Net GP2 News
Leimer back on top with fastest time in testing
20 October 2011
Just as he had done in Jerez last month, Fabio Leimer was back on top of the test timesheets in Barcelona with a time of 1:29.324s set just over an hour before the end of the morning session on the second of two days of testing for the GP2 teams at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Leimer went top early in the session, before Kevin Magnussen brought out the first of the day's four red flags when he slid off at turn 5 and beached his Carlin in a gravel bed. It was Esteban Gutierrez who set the challenge when proceedings resumed when the Lotus ART driver went a full half second faster than Leimer's earlier time. Then the 22-year-old Swiss driver responded by going top again over two tenths faster, with Stefano Coletti returning from injuries sustained in the GP2 race at Spa to slip into second in the Coloni ahead of Alexander Rossi in the Caterham Team AirAsia.
The final 45 minutes saw two further red flags - the first for Spain's Albert Costa stopping on track, and a brief one with ten minutes left on the morning clock for Dams' Rio Haryanto doing likewise. Leimer managed to stay on top of the timesheets ahead of a spirited challenge from Sam Bird making a day's outing at Trident. Gutierrez finished in third place, just ahead of Kevin Magnussen who despite that early spin in the session emerged as the fastest non-GP2 regular for the two days with a best lap of 1:29.697s. The top four all improved on Marcus Ericsson's top Wednesday time of 1:29.705s, with Ericsson himself not returning for the Thursday tests.
The afternoon session was significantly slower than the morning with no one breaking the 90s mark at all, as teams turned away from qualifying set-ups and started concentrating on racing simulations. Alexander Rossi laid down the gauntlet early on with a 1:30.749s to go top ahead of Ocean's Brendon Hartley, and it was only 40 minutes before the end of the three-hour session that Stefano Coletti finally displaced Rossi by putting in a lap of 1:30.607s. Racing Engineering's Nathanaël Berthon slipped in between Rossi and Hartley to claim third place, while positions five through eight were all taken by non-GP2 regulars Jake Rosenzweig (Barwa Addax), Antonio Felix Da Costa (Ocean), Fabio Onidi (Rapax) and Nigel Melker (iSport). There was only one red flag in the afternoon, triggered when Lotus ART's James Calado stopped at turn 6 shortly after the mid-point of the session.
The chequered flag signalled the end of the two-day test session, the last scheduled for GP2 in 2011. Cars and equipment will now be shipped off to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the GP2 Final scheduled as a support event to the F1 Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on the weekend of 11-13 November.
After the GP2 Final, the F1 teams will then hold their 'Young Driver' tests, which the GP2 drivers will hope they get a chance to participate in. Esteban Gutierrez and Fabio Leimer have already been handed opportunities
by the Sauber team.
Full timings from test day 2
Full session report
and test times from day 1
are also available.