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GP2: Latifi fastest on day 2 of post-season test at Abu Dhabi

Nicholas Latifi put DAMS at the top of the times on the second day of post-season testing for the GP2 teams at Abu Dhabi.
After ART's domination on day 1 of GP2's post-season testing at Abu Dhabi, it was a more mixed picture on Thursday with Russian Time's Artem Markelov leading the way in the first session and DAMS' Nicholas Latifi quickest in the evening.

Latifi was able to take advantage of the cooler conditions to allow him to set the quickest time of the day overall by over a second with a final effort of 1:47.860s on the 3.451-mile, 21-turn Yas Marina Circuit

Earlier in the day, proceedings had initially got underway under the burning noon day sun, Markelov eventually putting in a best time of 1:49.008s to deny Latifi the session honours by 0.017s in the Canadian's second day at DAMS after a season spent at MP Motorsport.

Latifi was in the #1 car that had been the preserve of Pierre Gasly during this year's campaign. Having spent the first day of post-season testing with new team PREMA Racing, the Frenchman switched to Russian Time on Thursday and vied with Carlin's Richie Stanaway for the top spot early in the two and half hour daytime session.

Latifi had been the one to finally knock Gasly off his perch, before himself being dethroned by André Negrao who was in his second day with Rapax. Latifi was able to improve to shade Negrao by 0.078s but then Markelov recorded his session-best time to secure the honours with an hour of running left.

There were three red flags in the daytime session, the first being a brief interruption 40 minutes in to retrieve some debris in turn 1. Markelov had just gone to the top when the second red flag came out for Mitch Evans whose Campos Racing car had stopped on the track, and there was a final stoppage when Gasly also ground to a halt at the exit of turn 7.

The evening session under the floodlights got off to a slightly delayed start because of repairs that were needed to the barrier after a late accident in the intervening GP3 session, and with 2015 FIA European Formula 3 championship runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi replacing Stanaway at Carlin.

This time it was Latifi's DAMS team mate Alex Lynn who set the pace ahead of Markelov, before MP Motorsport's Nick Yelloly took charge only for Markelov to strike back and take back control on the very next lap before a lengthy 40-minute delay to proceedings for further barrier repairs after Felix Rosenqvist went off in the PREMA.

Rapax regular Sergey Sirotkin was the first to get up to speed when the session resumed, with Negrao moving into second place. As the end of the session approached and conditions were at their most optimal for flying laps, a last flurry of runs saw Latifi leap back to the top and become the first and only driver on Thursday to go under 1:48s.

ART's Norman Nato made a late rise to second place ahead of Sirotkin, while Lynn had to settle for fourth ahead of Yelloly, Negrao, Gasly and Markelov in eighth.

DTM Champion and Mercedes F1 test driver Pascal Wehrlein was not in action on Thursday. The 21-year-old German had enjoyed his first taste of GP2 on Wednesday with the new PREMA Racing team, ending up in 18th place in both the daylight and night time sessions.

See full times from the first day of GP2 post-season test at Abu Dhani
See full times from the second day of GP2 post-season test at Abu Dhani

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
2015 GP2 Series Test 3. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Nicholas Latifi (CAN, DAMS). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Test 3. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thursday 3 December 2015. Nicholas Latifi (CAN, DAMS) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Gustav Malja F2 2017
Nobuharu Matsushita - ART Grand Prix [credit: Formula 2]
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, F2, Formula 2, Bahrain
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Artem Markelov, F2, Bahrain
Artem Markelov
Norman Nato, Bahrain F2 2017, Formula 2
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, Formula 2, 2017
Nabil Jeffri, Team Trident [Credit: Team Trident]
Alexander Albon - ART Grand Prix [GP2 Series]
Gustav Malja - Racing Engineering [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Alex Lynn - DAMS
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing

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