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Coletti on top once Barcelona dries off

5 March 2013

Whatever the timesheets said, the only winner on Tuesday morning at the start of the second and final three-day pre-season GP2 test session was the weather.

While the teams had experienced some wet track conditions on the final morning at Jerez, this was the first time in 2013 that they had experienced proper heavy rain falling during one of the pre-season test sessions. It was also very cold, and very windy. Unsurprisingly, most drivers opted to stay nice and dry in the garage first thing on Tuesday, rather that risk coming out in such hazardous circumstances.

Simon Trummer was the first driver to stick his nose out on track for an installation lap in the Rapax, but after the first hour only seven drivers had actually posted times. MP Motorsports' Daniël de Jong was the fastest up to this point with a lap of 1.53.121s, putting him nearly a second clear of his team mate Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. After that it was almost a second and a half back to Jake Rosenzweig (Barwa Addax), Rene Binder (Venezuela GP Lazarus), Mitch Evans (Arden), Ma Qing Hua (Caterham Racing) and Rio Haryanto (Barwa Addax).

Haryanto was the cause of the first red flag 40 minutes into the morning session when he went off at turn 2 and clipped the barrier. A second red flag followed some 20 minutes later when Kevin Giovesi stopped his Venezuela GP Lazarus at turn 8.

As the morning session passed the midway point, there was a familiar name back at the top of the timing screens: Tom Dillmann might be in a different car this week (turning out for new team Russian Time after his run in the Trident at Jerez last week) but the Frenchman was quick to demonstrate that he was as fast as ever by edging de Jong's time by a tenth of a second.

Half an hour later it was the turn of ART's James Calado to return to the top of the timesheets, where he had finished last week at the end of the third day at Jerez. Initially shaving off less than a tenth from Dillmann's time, he soon cut another half a second off and secured his place at the top of the timesheets for the rest of the morning, with de Jong and Trummer improving to second and third ahead of Racing Engineering duo Fabio Leimer and Julian Leal.

With less than ten minutes remaining in the morning session there was time for one final red which covered two separate incidents, with Rodolfo Gonzalez off in the Trident at turn 7 and Ma Quin Hua off-roading at turn 12 in the Caterham.

The rain had stopped, although bruising grey clouds remained, as the teams returned from their two-hour lunch break for the afternoon session. The track was still wet but his time none of the 26 drivers dallied before heading out onto the track led by Dillmann and his Russian Time teammate Luciano Bacheta. Carlin's Felipe Nasr were soon heading the timesheets after the first 30 minutes, ahead of Quaife-Hobbs and de Jong.

With the track improving with each run - although still far from dry - the times started to come down with every lap run, beginning with Rodolfo Gonzalez going top just before triggering the first red flag of the afternoon by running off at turn 5. Once the track reopened, Hilmer Motorsports' Pal Varhaug and Arden's Mitch Evans promptly went to the top of the time sheets.

After a mid-session pause, finally there was a sufficiently dry line forming to allow Dillmann to go out on slick tyres and immediately et a new target time of 1:33.358s, a full nine seconds better than anyone had managed before. Trident's Robin Frijns took the hint and took off a further second soon afterwards, and over the next 30 minutes later it was Rapax's Stefano Coletti and then MP Motorsports' Daniël de Jong who were able to bring the time down in half second chunks to 1:30.558s with an hour remaining of the day's track availability.

Fabio Leimer had a brief turn on top before Frijns and Nasr finally became the first drivers in 2013 to break the 90s laptime mark with 20 minutes remaining in the session. They were both trumped by Coletti's final run which posted a time of 1:29.868s which proved to be the best of the day 15 minutes before the chequered flag ended the session.

Testing will resume on Wednesday morning at 9am local time, but more rain is expected to hit the GP2 teams' preparations for the start of the 2013 season.

See full Tuesday test times.

Barcelona test line-up

DAMS - Marcus Ericsson, Stéphane Richelmi
ART GP (formerly Lotus GP) - James Calado, Daniel Abt
Arden - Johnny Cecotto Jr., Mitch Evans
Racing Engineering - Julian Leal, Fabio Leimer
Carlin - Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer
Russian Time - Luciano Bacheta *, Tom Dillmann *
Caterham Racing - Sergio Canamasas *, Ma Qing Hua
Barwa Addx - Jake Rosenzweig, Rio Haryanto
Rapax - Stefano Coletti, Simon Trummer
Trident Racing - Robin Frijns *, Rodolfo Gonzalez *
Hilmer Motorport - Conor Daly *, Pal Varhaug *,
Venezuela GP Lazarus - Rene Binder, Kevin Giovesi *
MP Motorsport - Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Daniël de Jong

* denotes currently only confirmed for Barcelona test


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