|Once again Racing Engineering and their Swiss driver, Fabio Leimer, were the fastest combination in the second of the post-2011 season tests.
The first two sessions of the Barcelona tests were held on Wednesday and both of the Racing Engineering drivers, Leimer and Nathanaël Berthon, used the sessions to set up their cars for the warm weather at the Circuit de Catalunya and the 2012 Pirelli P Zero hard compounds that the 26 cars were using.
Despite not looking for any very fast laps Leimer was 12th and 14th quickest in the two sessions whilst Berthon, who was getting used to driving a GP2 car again, was 23rd in the morning and a much improved 13th in the afternoon.
Thursday’s two sessions were also held in warm and sunny conditions although it was cooler than the day before in the morning which meant that faster times were now possible.
Leimer quickly showed that the work done by the Racing Engineering team from the day before had paid off and, despite a red flag; the young Swiss driver had soon set the second fastest time. Following another red flag Leimer returned to the track to set a time of 1:29.324 which, despite the best efforts of the other 25 drivers, remained the fastest time for the rest of the session.
Berthon continued to improve his times as he got used to the speed of the 2011 GP2 Dallara and at the end of the morning session the Frenchman was 12th, just 0.7 seconds behind his team-mate and just 0.5 seconds slower than the second fastest time.
The afternoon session saw Leimer concentrate on race simulations for the Racing Engineering team and with no attempt to set a fast time he finished the session in 10th place.
Berthon showed that his hard work in the previous three sessions had been worth it when he set a time of 1:31.023 which made him the third fastest driver in the afternoon.
For Fabio Leimer and the Racing Engineering team the two days of testing at Barcelona have been a very positive experience.
For Berthon it has been another promising outing with the Spanish team and he has shown he has the speed to be a regular GP2 competitor.The Racing Engineering team will now be turning their attention to the Abu Dhabi races to be held in three weeks’ time at the Yas Marina Circuit for the 2011 GP2 Final as part of the Formula One Grand Prix.