Valsecchi begins Barcelona test on top
19 April 2011 – Davide Valsecchi and Team AirAsia led the way on Tuesday as the final GP2 test session began at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. On an overcast day which eventually brightened up, the Italian set a time of 1:29.718 to move to the forefront of a 26-strong field. Luca Filippi was next up in second for Super Nova Racing, while morning pace-setter Charles Pic completed the top three runners.
The early stages of a quiet morning in Spain were set aside for system checks and installation laps, as the GP2 paddock swung back into action for the first time since the final round of the Asia Series back in March. Pic ultimately came out on top as the drivers began to push their respective machinery, and he lapped the 4.655-km (2.875-mi) circuit in a time of 1:29.875 just before the lunch-break.
Valsecchi quickly made his intentions clear as second session got underway, moving to the front of the pack early on. Despite personal best efforts from various competitors, he went on to improve his time and reassert himself as the man in charge of proceedings. There were only two red flag periods during a relatively trouble free day, and they both occurred towards the end of the afternoon.
Behind Filippi and Pic in second and third respectively, Jules Bianchi claimed fourth, just ahead of Mexico’s Esteban Gutiérrez. GP2 Asia title winner Romain Grosjean rounded out the top six runners, and he outlined the start of his day to GPUpdate.net in the Barcelona paddock: "Everybody is working quite hard to get some more information about the car, the tyres and the track. At the moment the test is going fine, we’re still analysing some data but everything is looking not too bad."
Three of the four British drivers on-track today followed in close succession, with Sam Bird edging out Max Chilton and Jolyon Palmer for seventh on the timing screens. The trio were seperated by a margin of just 0.169 seconds. Michael Herck rounded out the top ten just ahead of Coloni Motorsport team-mate Davide Rigon, while Oliver Turvey was the final Briton in 14th place.
Barcelona testing continues at 9am local time on Wednesday (BST +1)