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Valsecchi stays on top in Jerez test

29 February 2012

Davide Valsecchi continued at the top of the timesheets at Jerez on the second day of pre-season testing, with a morning qualifying simulation lap of 1:24.783s more than a second faster than his own top time from Tuesday.

His DAMS team mate Felipe Nasr sparked the first of the day's brief red flags, when the 2011 British Formula Three champion pushed his tyres too far in the early chilly conditions and ended up in the gravel.

Ocean Racing Technology's Nigel Melker caused the second red flag soon after when he made contact with the barriers; this time the damage done was more significant and the GP3 graduate was sidelined for the rest of the day as a result.

Lotus GP's pairing of Esteban Gutierrez and James Calado both topped the timesheets at some point during the morning, with Gutierrez eventually having to settle for second place in the timings behind Valsecchi, his fastest lap of 1:25.193s a tenth ahead of that of Marussia Carlin's Max Chilton.

After the morning's qualifying runs, the teams returned to long distance race simulations in the warmer afternoon conditions and times were significantly slower as a result, with Caterham Racing's Giedo van der Garde's lap of 1:26.270s managing to stop Valsecchi from making a clean sweep of the day.

Ocean Racing's problematic day continued when their second driver Tom Dillmann suffered a gearbox failure after just three laps of running. That brought out a brief red flag, and Dillman got no more running in during the day. The team will be hoping for better things tomorrow, when Auto GP champion Kevin Ceccon joins them for the final day at Jerez; Dillmann will move over to Rapax for the day in place of Daniel de Jong.

Nathanaël Berthon also caused an an afternoon red flag when he lost control of his Racing Engineering car and stopped in a gravel area. A final red flag came out near the end of the session for Julian Leal's Trident car coming to a halt on track just after van der Garde had set his fast lap, and there was no time to restart the session before the chequered flag came out for the end of proceedings.

Overall the GP2 teams and drivers were happy with the progress that had made on the previous opening day at Jerez.

"I am happy the 2012 season has got going at last and quietly pleased with how it has gone for us," said Caterham Racing's team manager Phil Spencer.

"I am happy with what we have achieved, I feel there is great potential," said driver Giedo van der Garde, going ont o suggest that "It seems we are on a different type of plan to everyone else."

“I had some very good memories of Jerez from the September testing session," said Scuderia Coloni's Fabio Onidi, saying that his aim on Tuesday had been to get back to the feeling that he had enjoyed at the end of last year. "I was surprised by how quickly I got that feeling back. Straight out of the box, in the very first laps, I understood that the car was really good and I could push as much as I wanted."

His team mate Stefano Coletti said that the first day of testing had been about trying out the new max downforce set-up: "I'm really impressed by the amount of grip the car can provide in such configuration, I immediately felt at ease. It was a good start."

Full day 2 test times are available.


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