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Gutierrez ends pre-season testing on top

8 March 2012

GP2's pre-season testing came to a close with the final day of a three-day test session at the Circuit de Catalunya just north of Barcelona in Spain.

As he had done on Wednesday, Lotus GP's Esteban Gutiérrez set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1:29.154s in the morning session, 0.164s ahead of chief rival Davide Valsecchi, who had claimed the top spot for DAMS on all three days at Jerez the previous week.

The day started once more sunny and cold, with Rio Haryanto going top early on for Carlin, sooner bettered by Nigel Melker in the Ocean Racing car and then Fabrizio Crestani becoming the first man under 1:30s in the new Venezuela GP Lazarus car.

That was all before an early red flag caused by Fabio Onidi running wide at turn 4 and stopping in the gravel. There was a second red flag shortly afterwards when Simon Trummer stopped out at turn 10.

Lotus GP's James Calado went top once the track went green until Rapax driver Tom Dillmann faster still. But it was Calado's team mate Gutiérrez who finally set the fastest time of the morning about an hour before the end of the morning activity, and in the final minutes there was a third red flag triggered by Johnny Cecotto Jr. spinning off.

Testing resumed after the lunch hour, with teams sticking to a program of race simulations with long runs and practice pitstops. Dillmann's early lap of 1:29.705s proved the best time of the afternoon session, two tenths ahead of Scuderia Coloni's Stefano Coletti.

There were another trio of red flags in the afternoon, the first coming out for Simon Trummer running off the track on cold tyres and into the barrier on his out lap, which meant he played no further part in the last test before the season opener in Malaysia.

Julian Leal caused another red flag when his Trident car stopped out on track, and Felipe Nasr briefly halted proceedings when his DAMS came to a halt shortly afterwards, but the British Formula 3 champion still put himself into fourth place in the afternoon timings with a late lap of 1:30.740s, just behind Fabrizio Crestani who was continuing to impress.

The chequered flag then came out, leaving the teams packing up their cars and equipment in order for them to be freighted to the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, where the first GP2 weekend will take place in just 14 days time on March 23-25 as a support event to the F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia.

Full day 3 test times available.


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