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Strong finish for Carlin in Barcelona
9 March 2013
A strong showing by Felipe Nasr in the final afternoon session of Carlin's week in Barcelona was the perfect way for the team to complete its preparations for the GP2 season opener in Malaysia in two weeks time.
Nasr finished the week with a time of 1:29.381s on the 2.892-mile, 16-turn Circuit de Catalunya putting him just ahead of Rapax driver Stefano Coletti on the timesheets. Nasr had spent the morning on the harder compound Pirelli tyres and had left the fast runs to his new team mate at Carlin.
Jolyon Palmer posted the fourth fastest time of the earlier session with a lap of 1:29.467s, demonstrating the overall performance of the team's package by the end of the rain-affected final pre-season testing opportunity.
"Both me and Felipe look to be on the pace," agreed Palmer on Thursday evening, as Carlin was busy packing up its cars and equipment to be freighted off to the Sepang International Circuit, via the team's UK base in Farnham.
"Unfortunately I suffered from traffic on my quickest lap so the times weren't quite representative," the 22-year-old from Horsham added. "But the pace is strong and we head to Malaysia in a confident mood."
"It's been a very good day for us," concurred Nasr. "Obviously it's even better to finish the afternoon P1, as it confirms we're going in the right direction!"
Topping the timesheets in the final session is a nice boost, but the young Brazilian remained keenly aware that the more important work was being done in the less exciting, unglamorous areas 'under the hood', so to speak.
"Both cars have collected good data on the soft compound which is different from last year," he said, emphasising the importance of getting to know the new 2013-spec Pirelli tyres despite the poor weather that had affected all the teams on the first two days at Barcelona this week.
Palmer picked up that theme: "It was a frustrating test in many ways with the weather really hampering our test programme for the first two days," said the British driver. "We did get some useful information in the wet though and when the track did finally dry out we did some good work with the new tyres."
Team principal Trevor Carlin said that he was also happy with the team's preparations this week, with the drier, warmer Thursday running clearly the most useful to the squad.
"All in all, it's been an interesting day," said Carlin. "The track temperatures increased quite a lot today compared to the previous days of wet running, which produced some balance issues, but the team did a great job to solve those quickly.
"We're pleased with the pace of both cars and feel ready for the start of the season in a couple of weeks' time," he added.
And Carlin's optimism and cautious confidence about their prospects in the season opener was echoed by his drivers.
"I'm looking forward to the first race," Nasr said. "We've made some really good preparations and head to Malaysia with a competitive car in both qualifying and race set up."
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