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Dillmann stays on top for second day at Jerez

27 February 2013

The second day of GP2 pre-season testing at the Circuit de Jerez started if anything even colder than the first had. At least it was sunny in the morning, which likely explains why the track heated up enough to allow the fastest time on Wednesday to be set before lunch, since overcast conditions later on in the day meant no further improvement was possible.

It was Jolyon Palmer who was first to come out and play in the Carlin with his team mate Felipe Nasr subsequently the first to dip under the 1:25 mark. However, proceedings were interrupted for the first time just 25 minutes into the morning session when Marcus Ericsson (DAMS) lost control of his car and ended up in the gravel at turn 10 needing retrieval.

The teams had barely got underway again when a spin for Trident Racing's Nathanaël Berthon brought out the second appearance of the red flag, and there was another incident a few minutes after the next restart when Nasr had a scare and spun at turn 3.

That had made three stoppages in the first hour, demonstrating that the early cold conditions were proving very tricky all around. Tom Dillmann didn't seem to think so, though - he shaved a tenth off Nasr's early benchmark to put Hilmer Motorsport back on top of the timesheets, right where they had been at he end of the previous day's sessions. However, an unfortunate miscommunication between Daniel Abt (ART) and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (MP Motorsport) ten minutes later brought out the fourth red flag of the day for a clean-up.

After that frustratingly staccato start to the day's testing, it was a much calmer morning from there on. James Calado briefly went to the top of the times for ART but Dillmann made a point of snatching the top time right back again with a lap of 1:24.400s just after the halfway point of the morning stint.

That proved to be the fastest time anyone could manage all day, although Stefano Coletti would go on to squeeze between Dillmann and Calado to claim second spot for Rapax before the two-hour break for lunch, narrowly missing ousting Dillmann from the top top by just 0.018s.

Times were slower in the cloudy afternoon conditions, although Dillmann was soon back in the top spot ahead of Ericsson, Pal Varhaug (Hilmer) and Stéphane Richelmi (DAMS), with Jake Rosenzweig subsequently putting in a surge to slip into second place with Barwa Addax.

With one hour left to run, it was Richelmi who was able to find enough speed in the cool conditions to stop Dillmann having it all his own way on Wednesday, pipping the Frenchman's time by 0.328s to go top with what would prove to be the best time of the afternoon on the 2.751-mile, 13-turn circuit. The lap of 1:24.604s meant that he was just over two tenths off Dillmann's morning benchmark.

Stefano Coletti triggered the final red flag of the day 20 minutes before the end of Wednesday's activities after going off track at turn 1 and damaging the front win of the Rapax. Although the session resumed for a final 10 minutes, there was little more to be done before the teams packed up for the day.

Testing at Jerez resumes on Thursday at 9am local time (8am GMT). The only team not currently attending is iSport, which is seeking to resolve funding issues before being able to commit to a full season of competition.

See full Tuesday test times.
See full Wednesday test times.


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