The first of two days of post-season testing for the GP2 field at the Circuit of Catalunya just outside of Barcelona in Spain saw Scuderia Coloni's Luca Filippi once again show his credentials with the top time of the day, although teams were mainly focussed on race-length simulations rather than qualifying times.
Filippi set the benchmark time of 1:29.775s in the final hour of the morning session, putting him three tenths ahead of his team mate for the day Daniël de Jong before lunchtime. De Jong would go on to set the fastest time of the afternoon session with a lap of 1:30.408s, with Filippi handing over his car to Riccardo Agostini after the midday break.
Coloni are exiting the series after the 2012 season and unlike the other 12 teams taking part in the post-season test session have little to gain in terms of preparation for 2013. Indeed, it was initially thought that they would not even participate at Barcelona.
Ocean Racing Technology's drivers were revealed as being Kevin Ceccon working alongside 21-year-old Spanish driver Ramon Pineiro, who spent 2011 competing in the FIA Formula Two Championship. However, Pineiro was not able to run any laps in the GP2 car on Tuesday.
The day had got off to a slow start, with initial chilly and cloudy conditions leading the team to sit it out in the pit lane after their basic installation laps until temperatures started to climb a little to sufficiently improve the grip levels for the cars. Venezuela GP Lazarus' Kevin Giovesi posted the first laptime of the day but this was soon bested by laps from de Jong, Lotus GP's Stéphane Richelmi and then by Filippi.
Conditions remained overcast and cool into the afternoon, with Rapax duo Stefano Coletti and Daniel Juncadella vying for the top of the times with Felipe Nasr making his first appearance with Carlin after spending the 2012 season at DAMS. Juncadella won that early skirmish, but de Jong eventually moved in front of them all and finished the afternoon session 0.159s ahead of Marcus Ericsson working with Trident Racing for the day.
There were three red flag stoppages during the day, with Filippi responsible for the first in the middle of the morning session when he spun and stalled the Coloni at turn 5.
In the afternoon session, Rene Binder spun and stopped at turn 5 bringing out a quick red flag, and Arthur Pic went off at turn 12 to bring out a late red flag when he ended up clipping the barrier, after which there were just five minutes of running left before the chequered flags were out.
After the session concluded, Colini's Agostini had his best laptime deleted when he was found to have cut the chicane during his run, dropping him down to 17th place in the final timesheets for the day.
Testing resumes on Wednesday morning at 9am local time. There will be a number of driver handovers, with 17-year-old Russian driver Sergei Sirotkin joining DAMS's efforts and Nigel Melker and Facu Regalia taking over at Racing Engineering. Richelmi will move over to Trident, while iSport's regular 2012 driver Jolyon Palmer will join the squad again for Wednesday's testing activity. Full Tuesday session times