Carlin’s Felipe Nasr topped the times in the final session of GP2 pre-season testing today, after the rain finally held off to allow some dry running at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. Two days of wet running saw an action packed programme on the third and final day of testing, with both Nasr and Jolyon Palmer on the pace before they head to the Sepang circuit in two weeks’ time for the season opener.
Two days of almost continuous rain hampered the final pre-season preparations for the GP2 drivers this week, as a soaking Circuit de Catalunya left little opportunity to complete full test programmes. A break in the weather finally came on Thursday, with the first dry times of the test being set at the end of the morning session.
Brazilian Nasr was second quickest on both day one and day two in the wet conditions and the former F3 champion was also on the pace in the dry to set the quickest lap on Thursday afternoon.
Team mate Palmer was also competitive; the Monaco race winner was fourth quickest as the track dried out on Thursday morning, and was on a lap that could have put him second before being blocked on his final sector in the afternoon. The Brit was nevertheless fifth quickest over the whole day.
A confident Nasr said, “Again it’s been a very good day for us; both cars have collected good data on the soft compound which is different from last year. Obviously it’s even better to finish the afternoon P1, as it confirms we’re going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the first race; we’ve made some really good preparations and head to Malaysia with a competitive car in both qualifying and race set up.”
Team mate Palmer added, “It was a frustrating test in many ways with the weather really hampering our test programme for the first two days. We did get some useful information in the wet though and when the track did finally dry out we did some good work with the new tyres. Both me and Felipe look to be on the pace, unfortunately I suffered from traffic on my quickest lap so the times weren’t quite representative but the pace is strong and we heard to Malaysia in a confident mood.”
Trevor Carlin was also happy with the team’s preparations adding, “All in all it’s been an interesting day. The track temperatures increased quite a lot today compared to the previous days of wet running, which produced some balance issues, but the team did a great job to solve those quickly. We’re pleased with the pace of both cars and feel ready for the start of the season in a couple of weeks’ time.”
A quick turnaround for the GP2 team will see the cars return to the UK this weekend, before being prepped for the long journey to Malaysia next week. The first round of the 2013 GP2 Series will take place in Sepang from 23 – 24 March.