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Bamber sets early Dubai pace

1 January 1901

Earl Bamber continues to make ripples in the GP2 paddock after he sweeping to the fastest time in free practice for the latest round of the GP2 Asia Series in Dubai.

The young New Zealander, who hit the headlines last time out in China by very nearly winning on his debut for part-time GP2 competitors QI-Meritus, ensured his speed was by no means a fluke as he edged Kamui Kobayashi to the top spot.

Setting his best time late in he session, Bamber was 0.001secs quicker than title favourite Kobayashi, the Japanese driver reassuming the place towards the head of the field he has held throughout much of testing since the end of the European season.

Davide Valsecchi was once again in fine form as he lifted his Durango into the third quickest time, ahead of the second DAMS car of Jerome D'Ambrosio.

Pastor Maldonado marked his debut with the ART Grand Prix team, with whom he will drive in the summer season, with a strong fifth fastest, marginally ahead of team-mate Sakon Yamamoto, the Japanese driver an impressive sixth best.

Rookie Sergio Perez out paced his more experienced team-mate Vitaly Petrov to go seventh best, although the biggest plaudits must go to Yelmer Buurman who was an excellent eighth quickest driving the new Tiago Monteiro-run Ocean Racing Technology car.

Championship leader Roldan Rodriguez set a good pace early on before fading to ninth, while Petrov rounded out the top ten positions.


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