See full test results from day 3 at Abu Dhabi
Jon Lancaster might just have boosted his job prospects for 2014 by topping the final day of official pre-season testing at Abu Dhabi with MP Motorsport, who had drafted in the 25-year-old British racer at late notice for the three days of development work in lieu of a confirmed driver for the #21 car that they have still to announced for the 2014 GP2 Series championship.
The start of final day's track activity had been delayed by 20 minutes due to repairs being necessary to a gantry at turn 13. Once the cars did finally take to the circuit they found themselves buffeted by more wind than that had in the previous two days in Abu Dhabi, but the drivers were nonetheless keen to get to work.
Stoffel Vandoorne had just gone top of the timing screens with a lap of 1:51.541s when Facu Regalia triggered the first red flag 25 minutes into the rescheduled session when his Hilmer Motorsport ground to a halt at turn 19. Once the track reopened, Trident's Johnny Cecotto Jr. posted the first sub-1:50 lap to go ahead of Racing Engineering's Stefano Coletti as the times started to get closer to the expected pace.
Jon Lancaster posted what would prove to be the day's best time of 1:49.653s shortly before the morning midway point, pipping Cecotto by a quarter of a second to go top. Despite some of the drivers breaking out a prized set of supersofts as lunch approached, neither man's time was beaten before the break for lunch - although DAMS' Jolyon Palmer did become the only other driver to break the 100s barrier with a time of 1:49.972s despite a late stoppage for Rene Binder, who spun his Arden at turn 13 just over half an hour from the end.
In the afternoon, the wind picked up and the drivers were greeted with something of a mini-sandstorm blowing over the Yas Marina Circuit before things settled down somewhat so that they could get the final session properly underway. Unsurprisingly the conditions weren't exactly conducive to flying laps and so teams mainly concentrated on race laps and pit stop practice. As a result, midway through the three-hour period Daniel Abt's best lap of 1:51.786s was still more than two seconds slower than Lancaster's morning benchmark, while itself 1.675s faster than Daniel de Jong who was up to second spot in the afternoon timings.
Cecotto subsequently improved the benchmark to 1:51.432s but the final hour continued to be assaulted by sandstorms as Coletti brought out a new red flag when he stopped at turn 8, and Julian Leal did likewise when he spun at turn 14. Some light rain in the desert added to the frustrating conditions, which left 30 minutes of track time remaining that Mitch Evans put to good use by going top. He too was then pipped by four tenths of a second by Campos Racing's rookie signing Arthur Pic, who posted a late time of 1:51.006s to bring his Abu Dhabi session to a close with a flourish.
While Lancaster ended the final day with the top time, it was not quite a match to the best time of the entire three-day test. That turned out to be Jolyon Palmer's afternoon time on the first day, when he posted a lap of 1:49.126s in his DAMS which was over half a second ahead of anything anyone else achieved all week.
That completes the three-day test session at Abu Dhabi. The teams now pack up their equipment and move to Sakhir in Bahrain, where a second three-day pre-season test will take place at Bahrain International Circuit next week between March 19-21.
The teams will then stay on in Bahrain for the first round of the 2014 GP2 Series season over the weekend of April 4-6 as one of the supporting events to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain.
Abu Dhabi official pre-season test results - Day 1
Abu Dhabi official pre-season test results - Day 2
Abu Dhabi official pre-season test results - Day 3
Combined testing times for Abu Dhabi