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Rain dampens second day of Barcelona testing

31 October 2012

The second day of post-season testing for the GP2 teams at the Circuit de Catalunya, just outside of Barcelona in Spain, got underway to a most unwelcome sight - heavy rain drenching the track.

While most of the cars dutifully went out for their installation laps, by the midpoint of the three-hour morning session only three cars had attempted a timed lap with Jolyon Palmer setting the first two-minute time of the day up to that point.

The rain finally came to a top with half an hour to go before the lunchtime break, which allowed drivers to finally head out and explore the still-treacherous conditions. Racing Engineering's Facundo Regalia finally set the best time of the morning, although his time of 1:51.799s spoke volumes for just how tricky the handling still was.

After having lost so much productive track time in the morning, the teams were quick to get out on track in the afternoon even if the circuit was still in the process of drying. After 30 minutes of activity, Lotus GP's Sergio Canamasas topped the timesheets ahead of Arden's Simon Trummer and Barwa Addax's Jake Rosenzweig.

Times didn't really begin to drop until the halfway point when slick tyres finally became a viable proposition. By the time the afternoon session came to an end, Alexander Rossi had managed to put his Caterham at the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:31.173s, around four tenths faster than Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in the Barwa Addax.

As a result of the tricky wet conditions and the still-slippery state of the track in the afternoon as it slowly dried in the cool but brighter weather, there were plenty of red flags punctuating the session.

Venezuela GP Lazarus' Rene Binder caused far more than his fair share of them: the Austrian first spun in the morning just short of the two-hour mark, beaching himself in the sodden gravel in turn 5; and he lost control of the car again just before the end of the session, this time coming to a halt in turn 6. In between these two bookends, DAMS' Sergey Sirotkin also managed to go wide in turn 4 to cause an additional stoppage.

In the afternoon, the first stoppage was triggered by a double incident with DAMS' other driver Arthur Pic joining iSport's Pal Varhaug in off-track excursions into the gravel just before the first hour mark while experimenting with transferring to slick tyres just a little earlier than conditions would actually allow.

Half an hour later and the red flag honours once again went to Binder, who spun and stopped in turn 7. Soon after the two-hour point it was Rapax's Daniel Juncadella's turn to run wide, this time at turn 4; and shortly after the track went green again it was Caterham driver Lucas Foresti's turn to come to a halt at the same spot.

Varhaug brought out the final red flag of the day when he went off at turn 4, this time hitting the barrier which meant there was insufficient time for anyone to get back on track before the end of the Catalunya test.

Because of the inclement conditions on Wednesday, Luca Filippi's Tuesday morning time of 1:29.775s stood as the fastest single lap of the two days at Barcelona. Filippi did not take part in Coloni's testing effort on Wednesday, which was instead left to Daniƫl de Jong and this year's Formula 3 Italy runner-up Eddie Cheever Jr. Ocean Racing Technology was scheduled to field Kevin Ceccon and Ramon Pineiro, but neither driver put in more than an installation lap on Wednesday.

The GP2 teams will reassemble again in three weeks time for a second - and final - two-day post-season test session. That will take place at Jerez on November 22-23, and will constitute the last action of 2012 for the GP2 Series.

Full Tuesday test session times
Full Wednesday test session times


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