|Just three days after Fabio Leimer took the 2013 GP2 Drivers Championship the Racing Engineering team were back in action in Abu Dhabi as all the GP2 teams began three days of testing on the Yas Marina circuit. Each day saw two sessions, one in the day and one at night under the circuit lights.
Day one saw Britain’s Jolyon Palmer and Indonesia’s Rio Haryanto in the Spanish team’s cars. The morning session saw both men getting used to working with the Racing Engineering team and Rio completed 24 laps with a best time of 1:51.779s to be 16th fastest whilst Jolyon was fractionally slower after 21 laps with a lap of 1:51.966s to be 17th overall. Both men went faster in the evening session with Jolyon being very quick to be 5th on the timing screen after 28 laps with a quickest time of 1:50.238s, Rio improved by over a second to 1:50.712s after 24 laps to be 16th.
The second day of testing, Wednesday, and it was the turn of Brazilian André Negrão and Swiss Nico Müller to get behind the wheel of the Racing Engineering cars. The morning session saw Nico complete 24 laps with a fastest time of 1:50.948s, 14th fastest of the 26 drivers. André took the 10th quickest time, 1:50.655s, after 28 laps. The second session saw Nico completing 27 laps to improve to 11th fastest with a time of 1:49.803s and André was 9th after 29 laps on 1:49.744s.
Thursday, the final day of the tests, and New Zealand’s Mitch Evans and Italy’s Raffaele Marciello were in the red and yellow Racing Engineering cars. In the morning session Mitch was 6th fastest on 1:50.226s after 26 laps and Raffaele was 14th, completing 27 laps, with a best time of 1:50.610s. The final session saw Raffaele reduce his time substantially to 1:49.052s after 26 laps to be 4th quickest and Mitch was also faster on 1:49.704s for 16th on the timing lists.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “The main target during these very interesting test days in Abu Dhabi was to evaluate drivers and at the same time test different technical solutions. Lap times during winter testing might not always be representative due to various aspects, such as fuel load used, aero level, track limits, technical specifications that are sometimes only applied during the winter, use of tyres etc., and we are therefore confident with what we have seen and have gathered a lot of information to analyse before the next season starts. We had a very strong and interesting combination of drivers and some of them seriously impressed us with their ability to quickly adapt to working with a new team.”
Jolyon Palmer: “It was a good day. We had a small issue in the morning so I didn't get a proper time in, but then I had a very good race run. Overall it was a very good day and I enjoyed it. The car is nice to drive.”
Rio Haryanto: “The car is a bit different from what I was used to driving and we tried to adapt it to my linking. A shame I could not improve my time on the second set of tyres due to the track conditions, but I enjoyed working here and I worked well with the team. I like the pace of the car.”
André Negrão: “It was a fantastic day! Also the job done by the team, the car is really, really good. I still need to understand the tyres better, which is taking a bit of time. But I really liked it.”
Nico Müller: “There were 2 or 3 things, which hampered us a bit, but we worked in the right direction. On my new tyres I could not get the maximum out of them as I found traffic, I could have been up in P5.”
Mitch Evans: "Today was really good, instantly I felt at home with the team. The car was pretty good and we made some minor adjustments to my driving style compared to Fabio's. I made improvements throughout the day and I don't think results show our potential. I am quite happy with our speed, I really, really felt like I fitted in well with the team."
Raffaele Marciello: "I am really happy with this day with Racing Engineering. We worked hard, tried to give our best and everything worked well. It was really a big pleasure to work with Racing Engineering."