Norwegian driver Pal Varhaug ended the GP3 pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain with the fastest time of the week, after finishing Thursday on top in both the morning and afternoon runs on the 2.892-mile, 16-turn grand prix track.
CLICK: Full times from day 2 of pre-season testing at Barcelona
Varhaug had been fast from the get-go, already sitting in first place on the timing screens within the first half hour of the session getting underway. With the circuit bathed in bright sunshine in sharp contrast with Wednesday's gloomy grey vistas, Varhaug was quickly able to post a lap of 1:35.469s to put him a hundredths of a second clear of his team mate Alex Palou who is still recovering from a collarbone injury and surgery.
By the end of the first full hour of testing, Varhaug had pulled further away from the field with what proved to be the best lap of anyone all day which clocked in at 1:34.867s which also managed to shave a few hundredths off the top time of 1:34.910s set on Wednesday by Carlin's Jann Mardenborough.
The pair were the only two drivers to dip under 85 seconds during the test, making them both notably faster than the pole lap set by Alex Lynn in last year's GP3 round in Barcelona which had clocked in at 1:35.614s.
ART's Esteban Ocon got within three tenths to slot into second place just ahead of Luca Ghiotto, but the Italian driver took advantage of other teams conducting pit stop practice and was eventually able to get more speed of his Trident to finish the morning leapfrogging Ocon with a time of 1:35.071s to put him a tenth ahead of the Lotus F1 development driver.
Behind the top three, Varhuaug's Matheo Tuscher ended the morning practice in fourth place ahead of Wednesday pacesetter Mardenborough, while the third Jenzer team mate Ralph Boschung was sixth fastest for the session. Palou went into the lunch break having dropped back down to seventh place despite a slight improvement on his opening time.
The only two red flag stoppages of the morning were both the result of Zaid Ashkanani stopping out on track. The first stop came some 75 minutes into the session when the Campos Racing car stopped between turns 6 and 7, and the second came half an hour later when the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East champion again crawled to a halt this time in turn 14.
After the midday break, which had been extended by 20 minutes from the original schedule, Varhaug was again quick to go top this time with a slower long-haul race pace of 1:37.277s which was still more than enough to put him almost a full second ahead of his Jenzer team mate Boschung and the rest of the field.
While Varhaug didn't improve on that initial time for the rest of the day, his rivals steadily closed the gap with Arden pair Kevin Ceccon and Emil Bernstorff moving into second and third place by the middle of the session, although Ceccon was still a quarter of a second away from displacing Varhaug at the top.
By the time the session ended, ART's Marvin Kirchhöfer had also done enough to get ahead of Boschung who had to settle for fifth place ahead of Adderly Fong in the Koiranen GP car who was half a second quicker in the afternoon than Alex Palou who was the cause of a red flag when he stopped out on track at turn 10 with a little under an hour of testing remaining.
The chequered flag that brought the day's track availability to a close also marks the end of pre-season testing for the GP3 teams and drivers. The next time that the cars fire up will be for practice for the opening round of the 2015 championship, which will be back here at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 8, with qualifying and race 1 on Saturday May 9 and race 2 following early on Sunday morning on May 10.
See full times from day 2 of pre-season testing at Barcelona