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Rapax buoyant after topping Barcelona test
8 March 2013
Rapax emerged from the second and final three-day pre-season GP2 test session of 2013 with the best time of the week on the 2.892-mile, 16-turn Circuit de Catalunya, despite some difficult and wearing conditions in Barcelona.
Lead driver Stefano Coletti ended up on top of the timesheets on both the first and final days, with his lap of 1:29.055s on Thursday morning proving to be the best time anyone managed all week.
"We could not expect more from collective tests," said the 23-year-old from Monaco. "Things worked out perfectly in Jerez as well as in Barcelona: the car is quick, we did not have any problem and there is a strong drive to win within the team.
"All seems to be in place to start the season on the right foot," he said. "But GP2 is an extremely competitive championship and I believe that several drivers could fight their way through to the win in two weeks time in Malesia."
Coletti's satisfaction with the pre-season testing and optimism for the upcoming season was shared by Andrea Bergamini, the CEO of Rapax.
“We couldn't be more satisfied with the outcome of this test at Barcelona," said Bergamini. "We topped the charts in two of the three days and it's definitely a good indication for the start of the 2013 season.
"We managed to stay fast both in the dry and in the wet while keeping an excellent race pace," he added. "Despite the bad weather that also disrupted the previous session at Jerez, we managed to complete the whole program including all the single tests we had scheduled before lining-up here."
The weather had been a frustration for everyone in Barcelona, with Coletti's best time on Tuesday coming late in the day once the track had dried up. He had chosen to do little running in the morning and posted only two timed laps, but his Swiss team mate Simon Trummer had been keen to go out and play and ended up giving Rapax the third fastest of the early session.
"We were positively impressed by Trummer, who constantly improved his pace and kept his name in the potential points-paying spots," said Bergamini. "The goals for Simon at Sepang will be equally ambitious”.
But it's clear that the team's main hopes rest with Coletti as the more experienced driver of the pair. With two seasons in GP2 already - first with Trident in 2011 and then Scuderia Coloni in 2012 before switching to Rapax for the final two race weekends of the year - everyone at the squad is hoping that this will be a breakthrough year.
"Coletti demonstrated what we already knew way before he joined Team Rapax: he has great talent and merged with the team in a very professional fashion," said Bergamini. "We know we can rely on him as he's an high-quality driver able to highlight all the team's work."
Whether the test pace and overall positive outlook can translate into championship success for Coletti, Trummer and Rapax will only really start to become clear when the teams take to the track for the first race of the 2013 GP2 Series, at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on March 22-24.
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