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Alexander Rossi sets opening pace at Bahrain test

Caterham's Alexander Rossi set the best time in the first day of testing at Bahrain International Circuit, with Hilmer Motorsport's Daniel Abt also strong.
Full GP2 test times for Wednesday from Bahrain

Less than a week after testing wrapped up at Abu Dhabi, the teams had moved across to Sakhir in Bahrain for the second three-day official pre-season test session being held this time at Bahrain International Circuit.

The only change in the 26 driver line-up from last week's test session was Vittorio Ghirelli taking over the Trident #22 from Zimbabwean Axcil Jefferies. Jon Lancaster was back in the MP Motorsport second car and Conor Daly continued to pilot the Venezuela GP Lazarus, while the other cars all continued to be in the hands of their confirmed 2014 drivers. The Pirelli tyres on offer to the teams for the week were the orange hard prime tyres (five sets per car) and the yellow soft options (two sets).

Other than installation laps it was a slow start to proceedings, with everyone hoping that someone else would undertake to clean the dust and sand off the track for them, Jolyon Palmer heading the early timing screens with a leisurely 1:56.759s around the 3.363-mile, 15-turn circuit. That was put properly in its place by Campos Racing's rookie signing Kimiya Sato who logged the first vaguely representative time of 1:42.569s an hour into the day's activity.

That target time was finally brought down by quicker efforts by MP Motorsport's Daniel de Jong, Carlin duo Felipe Nasr and Julian Leal and Caterham's Rio Haryanto, and then it was Hilmer Motorsport's Facu Regalia who brought the benchmark down to 1:41.327s just before the first red flag of the day for Takuya Izawa's ART stopping on track 20 minutes before the scheduled two-hour lunchtime break.

The track reopened but a second red flag quickly materialised when Simon Trummer's Rapax hit the kerb at turn 10 and stopped on track, which meant that there were only eight minutes remaining in the morning session for the drivers to log any remaining improvements. Campos Racing's new signing Arthur Pic rose to the challenge and went top, but he was denied the session honours by Daniel Abt in the Hilmer who improved his lap time to 1:40.676s to go into lunch heading the timing screens.

In the afternoon, ART's Stoffel Vandoorne was the early pacesetter with 1:41.916s but DAMS' Stéphane Richelmi quickly shaved four tenths off that with Racing Engineering's Raffaele Marciello slotting into second, which the Italian soon improved to go top with a lap of 1:41.430s. Alexander Rossi was the nest to step up, heading the standings for the first time on Wednesday with a 1:41.180s that was soon bettered by Felipe Nasr.

Russian Time's Mitch Evans and Venezuela GP Lazarus's Conor Daly succeeded in dipping the top time to under 1:41s, Daly's time of 1:40.734s set half an hour from the end of the day's testing soon bettered by fellow American Alexander Rossi whose effort of 1:40.604s was fast enough to hold up under pressure from the morning pacesetter Abt who could only get to within 0.012s of Rossi's time. One final effort from Abt proved to be a push to far and he was the cause of the final red flag of the day ten minutes from the end. Even though the track briefly opened again, no one could topple Rossi who duly ended the day as the fastest of anyone as the chequered flag came out.

The second day of testing starts on Thursday at 9am local time, with the morning session running until midday and then an afternoon session starting at 2pm after a two-hour lunch break, concluding at 5pm.

Full GP2 test times for Wednesday from Bahrain

Bahrain test line up

#01 Mitch Evans (NZL) - Russian Time
#02 Artem Markelov (RUS) - Russian Time
#03 Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin
#04 Julian Leal (COL) - Carlin
#05 Raffaele Marciello (ITA) - Racing Engineering
#06 Stefano Coletti (MON) - Racing Engineering
#07 Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - DAMS
#08 Stéphane Richelmi (MON) - DAMS
#09 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) - ART Grand Prix
#10 Takuya Izawa (JAP) - ART Grand Prix
#11 Daniel Abt (GER) - Hilmer Motorsport
#12 Facu Regalia (ARG) - Hilmer Motorsport
#14 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Rapax
#15 Simon Trummer (SUI) - Rapax
#16 Rene Binder (AUT) - Arden International
#17 André Negrao (BRA) - Arden International
#18 Rio Haryanto (INA) - EQ8 Caterham Racing
#19 Alexander Rossi (USA) - EQ8 Caterham Racing
#20 Daniel De Jong (NED) - MP Motorsport
#21 Jon Lancaster * (GBR) - MP Motorsport
#22 Vittorio Ghirelli * (ITA) - Trident
#23 Johnny Cecotto Jr. (VEN) - Trident
#24 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) - Venezuela GP Lazarus
#25 Conor Daly * (USA) - Venezuela GP Lazarus
#26 Arthur Pic (FRA) - Campos Racing
#27 Kimiya Sato (JAP) - Campos Racing

* denotes driver not currently signed for forthcoming season



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
The helmets of Felipe Masr (BRA, Carlin), and Julian Leal (COL, Carlin). (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Vittorio Ghirelli (ITA, Trident) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Daniel Abt (GER, Hilmer Motorsport) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Alexander Rossi (EQ8 Caterham Racing) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Campos Racing logo. (Photo credit: GP3 Media Service)
Jordan King (GBR, MP Motorsport) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jordan King (GBR, MP Motorsport) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jordan King (GBR, MP Motorsport) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Esteban Ocon (FRS, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Dunbar/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS) during GP2 testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Saturday 29 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)

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