Fabrizio Crestani put new GP2
team Venezuela GP Lazarus at the top of the morning timings on the first day of 2012 GP2
Series testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, with a lap of 1:29.420s over two tenths faster than iSport's Jolyon Palmer.
Cool but sunny conditions in Spain meant that the track was quiet at first until the temperatures crept up to a more representative level by mid-morning. Crestani's first quick lap was a 1:30.271s and was soon beaten by Lotus GP's Esteban Gutiérrez who was the first to tip under the 90s mark by a tenth of a second.
Caterham Racing's Giedo van der Garde and then Scuderia Coloni's Stefano Coletti also took turns at the top of the timesheets with an hour to go, before Crestani finally set his best lap of the day which defied the best attempts by the rest of the drivers to better it before the chequered flag came out for lunchtime, which was slightly early after Nathanaël Berthon and Julian Leal ground to a halt out on track just before the end of the morning session.
Lotus GP's James Calado was on top of the afternoon timings when Felipe Nasr brought out the first red flag of the afternoon when his DAMS car went too wide and found the gravel trap. A second red flag was caused by Fabio Onidi spinning his Coloni through the exit of turn 9.
Stefano Coletti was the first man in the afternoon to dip under the 90s barrier, but then Marussia Carlin's Max Chilton posted the fatest time in the afternoon with a lap of 1:29.479s with an hour to go. No one could quite better it, although Julian Leal came very close in the Trident and missed out by just a little over a hundredth of a second.
Crestani had a quiet afternoon of it as the team concentrated on race set-ups, leaving him at the bottom of the afternoon time alongside Giancarlo Serenelli, his temporary team mate for this week's test sessions.
Rapax called up Ricardo Teixeira and Sergio Canamasas to test for them in Barcelona, while Ocean Racing Technology called in 23-year-old British driver Jon Lancaster.
Reports say that Lancaster - who raced in Formula 2 and Auto GP in 2011 but hasn't had a full time race seat since Formula Renault 3.5 two years ago - has been formally signed by Ocean for their 2012 GP2
Meanwhile Berthon made his début as the confirmed second driver at Racing Engineering, while Arden International's Luiz Razia had to stand down after falling sick with a bug after only managing a brief installation outing in the morning.
Full times from day 1 at Catalunya