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More drivers confirmed for Barcelona test

29 October 2012

Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr will return to GP2 action this week at the first official GP2 post-season test, which is being held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside of Barcelona, Spain.

Haryanto will be on familiar ground as he returns to his 2012 race seat at Carlin for the occasion, but this time it won't be Max Chilton alongside him as the young Briton is otherwise engaged this week in Abu Dhabi working as Marussia F1's test and reserve driver.

Instead, Carlin is taking a look at Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr, who caught the eye several times during his rookie season in GP2 this year with a number of impressive drives for DAMS alongside series champion Davide Valsecchi, which helped propel DAMS to the team title.

"I'm delighted to be testing with Carlin this week," said Nasr, recalling their past success together winning the 2011 British F3 title. "This will be my first chance to drive the Carlin GP2 car though, and I'm very happy to be testing with a team I know so well.

"I'm excited to see how the car feels and to get back the behind the wheel of a GP2 car," he added. "It already seems like too long since Singapore!"

Haryanto was also pleased to be back in action this week, although he indicated that he wasn't sure what his plans would be for his own sophomore season in GP2 in 2013.

"There's quite a lot to get through and lots of decisions to be made about the future, but I'm excited to be driving the GP2 car again," he said. “This year was a big learning curve for me, but I'm interested now to build on what I learnt over the season with this week's test," he continued, adding: "Hopefully we will have some dry weather and we'll be able to make the most of the two days."

Nasr's 2012 team DAMS have revealed on Twitter that their Barcelona test line-up will be headlined by 21-year-old Frenchman Arthur Pic, who has been competing in Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the last two years. In 2012, he picked up a race win in Moscow to go with a third place at Motorland Aragon, two podiums and two fastest laps over the course of the year.

Pic will be joined at DAMS on Tuesday by Nigel Melker, who spent 2012 in GP2 with Ocean Racing Technology; and by Russian racing driver Sergei Sirotkin on the Wednesday. The 17-year-old Muscovite finished in third place in this year's Auto GP World Series.

Meanwhile, Trident Racing has confirmed that it will be taking a trio of drivers to Barcelona, with their regular 2012 GP2 driver Julian Leal taking the lead role on both days. He'll be joined on Tuesday by Marcus Ericsson, who spent this year in GP2 with iSport; and on Wednesday by Stéphane Richelmi who had been partnered with Leal in the team for his first full season in GP2 in 2012.

"From a technical point of view, the two-day test will provide the team with a great opportunity to try a lot of possible set-up solutions," the team said in a press release ahead of the two-day test. "The work has already been programmed and will mainly involve Leal."

Richelmi will also spend Tuesday at Catalunya working with the Lotus GP2, where he will be joined by 19-year-old German driver Daniel Abt who just finished as runner-up in this year's GP3 Series.

The newest team on the grid, Venezuela GP Lazarus, has announced that Rene Binder and Kevin Giovesi will be working with them this week at Catalunya. 20-year-old Austrian Binder spent most of 2012 competing in German Formula 3, but the team brought him into GP2 for the final three race weekends of the year at Spa, Monza and Singapore as a replacement for Giancarlo Serenelli.

"Binder has positively surprised us in his debut at Spa, so it seemed to us natural to continue together, trying to go faster and faster," said team principal Tancredi Pagiaro.

Giovesi spent his year split between European F3 Open and Italian Formula 3 European Series, but it was in the European F3 Open Championship Cup (formerly Spanish Formula Three) that he had his biggest success, claiming nine wins and ten pole positions with DAV Racing.

"Giovesi is having a great season in European F3 Open and now will be faced with a car much more demanding than those he had drive right now," Pagiaro continued. "It will be a very important test and we will give all the best to preparing the next season."

Last week (see separate story for full details), Rapax confirmed that Stefano Coletti would be joined by Formula 3 Euro Series champion Daniel Juncadella, while iSport will be fielding Argentina's Facu Regalia and Norway's Pal Verhaug for a day each alongside their regular 2012 driver Jolyon Palmer.

Regalia will also spend a day with Racing Engineering, who will also be trying out Brazil's André Negrão, Canada's Gianmarco Raimondo and Dutch driver Nigel Melker.

Caterham are looking pretty set on Alexander Rossi after naming him to test for them at both Barcelona and November's second two-day test at Jerez. He'll be joined at Barcelona by Brazilian driver Lucas Foresti.

Britain's Auto GP champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs will spend one day at Barwa Addax, while Simon Trummer and GP3 champion Mitch Evans be at work in the Arden garage.

That leaves just Ocean Racing Technology to confirm any drivers for this week's test.

Scuderia Coloni are also expected to participate in the session after all, despite having decided to exit the series after the 2012 season. They will field two of their 2012 driver, Daniël de Jong and Luca Filippi.

There's been no word so far as to whether a replacement team will take Coloni's spot on the grid for 2013, or whether the series organisers will opt to slim down the starting grid to 24 cars.


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