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Calado ends Jerez test with top time

ART's James Calado claimed the honours on the third day of GP2 pre-season testing at Jerez, in a day that saw wet conditions early on.
It was once again a cold start to the day, but this time there was a new element in the mix - a wet track, after a night of rain in the Jerez region. That dissuaded many drivers from emerging from pit lane for early runs, but eventually the dark skies started to break up, sun began to break through, and the track was able to dry.

Even so, early runs were on wet weather tyres and concentrated on pit stop and starting practice. As the track improved, some hardy souls like ART's James Calado were keen to take wary laps of the drying circuit on slick tyres so that they could acquire knowledge of such transitional conditions in case they had to be faced in races during the season.

By the middle of the morning session, former HRT F1 reserve driver Ma Qing Hua headed the time sheets for Caterham, ahead of Daniël de Jong (MP Motorsport), Jolyon Palmer (Carlin), Johnny Cecotto Jr. (Arden) and Mitch Evans (Arden), but the standings and the times were rather academic at this point due to the conditions. Cecotto improved to 1:28.379s - the best time of the morning so far - and was subsequently the cause of the first red flag of the day when he stopped on track at turn 6 just short of the two hour mark.

Once the track reopened, Stéphane Richelmi shaved a sliver off Cecotto's time to go to the top of the timesheets in the DAMS, and then with 30 minutes remaining for lunch it was Carlin's Marcus Ericsson who pushed the target time down a little further before the second red flag of the day, this time for Jolyon Palmer stopping on track.

There was less than ten minutes remaining in the morning session once the green flags came out again, just enough time for Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (MP Motorsport) and Richelmi to improve their times, meaning that they went into the shortened one-hour lunch break on top ahead of Ericsson, de Jong and Felipe Nasr (Carlin)

In the afternoon, the track was finally dry and times immediately improved as a result even though teams were mainly focussing on race distance fuel runs. Calado was again quick to set the pace and go top of the timesheets, his eventual lap of 1:24.659s shortly before the midpoint of the session being the fastest time of anyone for the day, shortly before a red flag materialised for Marcus Ericsson stopping out on track.

There was one further red flag during the afternoon, ten minutes before the end of the session when Mitch Evans came to a stop, which meant that there was just two minutes left on the clock before the chequered flag came out marking the end of the session. There were no late challengers to Calado's fastest lap crown and he duly finished on top, almost four tenths of a second faster than Rapax Simon Trummer and Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer.

The fastest man for both the previous days - Tom Dillmann - wasn't able to make it a hat-trick as he only ran in the wet morning session and Hilmer Motorsports did not participate in the drier afternoon conditions.

That was the final day at Jerez, but the GP2 teams are staying in Spain and next week decamp to Barcelona where they will take over from the F1 teams at the Circuit de Catalunya for a second three-day test session from March 5-7 starting at 9am local time (8am GMT). That will be the last time that the teams and drivers have to practice before the cars and equipment are crated up for dispatch to Malaysia for the 2013 season opener at the Sepang International Circuit on March 22-24.

The only team that did not attend testing at Jerez was iSport, which is seeking to resolve funding issues before being able to commit to a full season of competition. The team earlier said it hoped to have a presence at the Barcelona tests, but has not yet confirmed that this will be the case.

Other than iSport, seven race seats for 2013 are still unconfirmed. It's not yet known whether Kevin Giovesi (Venezuela GP Lazarus), Tom Dillmann and Pal Varhaug (Hilmer Motorport), Ma Qing Hua and Sergio Canamasas (Caterham Racing), Robin Frijns and Nathanaël Berthon (Trident Racing) will continue with their stand-in test drive roles for their respective teams in next week's Barcelona sessions.

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



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax) on the first day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tuesday 26th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) on the first day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tuesday 26th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) on the first day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tuesday 26th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
James Calado (GBR , ART Grand Prix) on the first day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tuesday 26th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
James Calado (GBR , ART Grand Prix) on the second day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Wednesday 27th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
James Calado (GBR , ART Grand Prix) on the first day of 2013 GP2 Series Testing at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tuesday 26th February 2013. (Photo copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) ART Grand Prix
Simon Trummer (SUI) Rapax
Simon Trummer (SUI) Rapax
Simon Trummer (SUI) Rapax
Stephane Richelmi (MON) DAMS
Stephane Richelmi (MON) DAMS
Stephane Richelmi (MON) DAMS
Stephane Richelmi (MON) DAMS
Stephane Richelmi (MON) DAMS

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