Johnny Cecotto Jr. proved to be right at home as he spent Friday trying out the Arden car for size, which allowed him to set the best time of anyone during the two-day post-season test session at Jerez.
His morning session time of 1:25.694s set shortly after the midway point was almost a second faster than the previous best time of Marcus Ericsson, who had posted his lap in less-optimal conditions in the Thursday afternoon session. Felipe Nasr (Carlin) was the second fastest man and the only other driver of the day to dip under 1:26s by the time that the chequered flag came out.
Cecotto - who spent 2012 as a regular driver for Barwa Addax, and had himself tried out a Carlin on the first day of this two-day session at Jerez
- didn't quite match his morning time in the afternoon session but he was still the fastest man out on track with a lap of 1:26.585s. With Nasr absent having already left to fly to Brazil for the F1 Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, the second fastest man in the afternoon was Stéphane Richelmi who was almost two tenths back in the DAMS after a lap of 1:26.783s.
Conditions on Friday were much improved on the fog-hit Thursday, with the teams greeted by blue skies and sunshine enabling them to get right to work. Cecotto had led the pace from the start, with Alexander Sims also pacey for Barwa Addax and Marcus Ericsson similarly quick to get to grips with his new car after switching to Coloni for the day.
Felipe Nasr went fastest in the middle of the session, and then Adrian Quaife-Hobbs briefly went top before being muscled aside by Cecotto - his Arden team mate for the day. Nasr was able to improve his time to cut the gap, but couldn't quite do enough to dislodge the Venezuelan from the top of the timesheets.
A spin for Rapax's Daniel Juncadella brought out the first red flag of the day 90 minutes into the session, and there was a second an hour later for Simon Trummer in the Caterham with 30 minutes remaining before the lunch break.
In the afternoon, Cecotto was soon once again setting the target for others to match ahead of Nigel Melker (Racing Engineering), Alexander Sims (Barwa Addax) and Mitch Evans (DAMS). After the day's third red flag for Venezuela GP Lazarus's Kevin Giovesi stopping with mechanical gremlins, Fabio Leimer popped in front of his Racing Engineering team mate for the second spot, but then Richelmi, Stefano Coletti (Rapax), Rene Binder (Lazarus) and Jolyon Palmer (iSport) led a rush of improved times in the final minutes of the day's activity.
This was the final outing for the GP2
cars of 2012, with everything now going into storage until the teams reconvene at Jerez
for a three-day pre-season test on February 26-28. That will be followed by a second three-day test the following week at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona on March 5-7, with the first race weekend expected to be in Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit on March 23-24 as a support race to the F1 Grand Prix.
One team that will be absent from the tests and from Malaysia is Scuderia Coloni, whose involvement with the series is now officially over after their decision to quit the championship. The team fielded Stefano Coletti, Fabio Onidi and memorably Luca Filippi during 2012; it's not known whether the series will find a replacement team to take Coloni's spot on the grid.Full day 1 testing times
are available.Full day 2 testing times