GP2 » 2 April 2014
Final three drivers for Bahrain confirmed
The final three race seats on the GP2 Series grid for this weekend's season opener in Bahrain have gone to Jon Lancaster, Conor Daly and Axcil Jefferies.
With just under 48 hours to go before the GP2 cars roll out onto the track at Bahrain International Circuit for the first official practice session of a race weekend in 2014, the final three drivers have now been confirmed.
As expected, Jon Lancaster will take the seat of the second MP Motorsports car alongside the previously-announced Daniel de Jong. The 25-year-old British driver from Leeds impressed in last month's pre-season tests in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, heading the final day's timesheets at both venues.
"FYI...on way to Bahrain...," Lancaster posted on his Twitter page on Wednesday afternoon. The official GP2 Series Twitter feed also confirmed the news that the former Hilmer Motorsport driver and two-time race winner in 2013 would be in action for the Dutch squad this weekend.
Over at Venezuela GP Lazarus, America's Conor Daly has been confirmed as this weekend's team mate to Nathanael Berthon, having also featured in both of last month's two three-day test sessions working with the team. Daly - who took part in last year's Indianapolis 500 race - will be making his first GP2 appearance since his series debut in 2013's series opener in Malaysia for Hilmer Motorsport.
The final spot on the grid has gone to 19-year-old Zimbabwean rookie Axcil Jefferies, who will be driving for Trident alongside Johnny Cecotto Jr.
Jefferies will be making his first race appearance in the series this weekend, having formerly been racing in kart competition in Europe since 2007 and competing in Formula BMW and Formula 2, before making two apeparances in the Firestone Indy Lights Series in the US in 2013 with Bryan Herta Autosport.
Jefferies spent the full three days of pre-season testing at Abu Dhabi with Trident, but then stood aside for two days at Bahrain to allow the more experienced Vittorio Ghirelli to get some track time. Jefferies then subsequently returned to the seat of the #22 for the final day at Sakhir.
In all three cases, there has been no official press information form the teams involved, indicating that they are probably for this one weekend only at this point. The teams will make announcements in due course about who will be their full- or long-time driver for the remainder of the 2014 GP2 Series championship
The GP2 season gets underway with practice on Friday April 4 at 12 noon local time (10am BST) , with qualifying for the season opener following later in the day at 8pm local time (6pm BST).
The 32-lap feature race 1 is scheduled to start on Saturday at 1.10pm local time (11.10am BST), and the shorter 23-lap sprint race 2 is set for Sunday at 2.15pm local time (12.15pm BST). In the UK, live coverage of sessions is available on the Sky Sports F1 subscription satellite channel.
Teams are being provided with three sets of the P Zero Orange Hard prime compound and two of the P Zero Yellow Soft option compound per car for the forthcoming race weekend in Bahrain.
"We're expecting quite a gap in performance between the hard and the soft tyres and this should put the emphasis firmly on strategy," said Pirelli's racing manager Mario Isola. "One of the biggest challenges for the teams will be the fact that qualifying takes place at night this year, so the tyre data that they collect during practice could be different to the characteristics seen in qualifying, when ambient and track temperatures will be lower."
Full driver line-up for Bahrain
#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 Axcil Jefferies (ZIM) - 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
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