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Teams set for first race in Sepang

After two three-day test sessions in Spain, the GP2 teams have finished pre-season testing and are dispatching all their equipment to Sepang for the season opener in 14 days time.
The start of the 2012 GP2 season is fast approaching, with the first practice session at Sepang in Malaysia less than two weeks away. The teams have now benefited from two blocks of testing at Jerez and Barcelona in Spain, but now the real moment is truth is very nearly upon them all.

"Obviously you don't get championship points from training," agreed Lotus GP's Esteban Gutiérrez, who topped the timesheets on two of the three days at Barcelona this week. "But this is a good reference point ... Honestly, this has been very positive for us."

Gutiérrez - who will be in Melbourne next week as BMW Sauber F1's reserve driver - said that the tests had highlighted the areas that still needed improvement.

"We have to work a little more on the race format to improve tyre degradation," he admitted. "We have to keep working if we want to be consistent in every single event."

DAMS might not have dominated the timesheets as they did at Jerez, but they were still pretty happy with their three days in Barcelona.

“Overall, the second week of pre-season testing has gone off pretty well," insisted the team's general manager François Sicard. "It's confirmed the excellent job we did at Jerez ... Davide again showed that he's ready to fight for the title and Felipe made a big step forward, especially on the final day. We can't wait for the season to begin!"

"It's another good week's work," agreed lead driver Davide Valsecchi. "Now the hardest thing is waiting for the first race!”

British Formula 3 champion Felipe Nasr was also feeling buoyed up by how things had gone this week. "I'm feeling pretty happy after the second week," he said. "I was able to learn new things about the car and its handling even if the time was short."

So how's he feeling about his GP2 Series début in the heat of Sepang in a fortnight? "I know that the opening races will be a big challenge for me," he admitted. "But I've got absolute confidence in the team and in myself to improve rapidly and to be fighting at the front very soon.”

Caterham Racing are another team expecting to perform well at Sepang, especially having signed up experienced GP2 competitor Giedo van der Garde to help them get up to speed.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pirelli tyres at 2012 GP2 Series Testing. Barcelona, Spain. Thursday 8th March 2012 [World Copyright: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) in the garage area on day 2 of 2012 GP2 Series Testing. Barcelona, Spain. Wednesday 7th March 2012. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Giedo van der Garde (NED, Caterham Racing) in the garage area on day 2 of 2012 GP2 Series Testing. Barcelona, Spain. Wednesday 7th March 2012. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Dams) in the DAMS garage during day 3 of pre-season testing at Jerez in Spain - Thursday, March 1. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.]
Felipe Nasr (BRA, Dams) in the garage during the first day of GP2 pre-season testing at Jerez. February 2012. [Picture credit: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service]
Giedo van der Garde (NED, Caterham Racing) tops the afternoon times during testing at Jerez, Spain on February 29, 2012. [Picture Credit: Daniel Kalisz/GP2 Media Service]
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