|Just four days after the last race of the 2014 GP2 Series 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 Canada’s Nicholas Latifi and Frenchman Norman Nato in the Spanish team’s cars. The morning session saw both men getting used to working with the Racing Engineering team and, despite two red flags, Nicholas completed 18 laps with a best time of 1:50.431s to be 10th fastest whilst Norman was just eight tenths of a second slower after 20 laps with a lap of 1:51.272s to be 18th overall. Nicholas went faster in the evening session with the Canadian improving to 1:50.155s after 27 laps for 14th fastest, Norman was 23rd on 1:51.318s completing 26 laps. Once again the session saw two red flags.
The second day of testing, Friday, and it was the turn of Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar and Swiss Simon Trummer to get behind the wheel of the Racing Engineering cars. The morning session saw Jazeman complete 28 laps with a fastest time of 1:50.864s, 16th fastest of the 25 drivers. Simon took the 25th quickest time, 1:52.186s, after 20 laps. The second session saw both men go faster with Jazeman completing 27 laps to lie 16th fastest with a time of 1:49.956s and Simon was 24th (now out of 26 cars) after 24 laps on 1:50.604s.
Saturday, the final day of the tests, saw New Zealand’s Mitch Evans and Italy’s Raffaele Marciello in the red and yellow Racing Engineering cars. In the morning session Mitch was 13th fastest on 1:50.303s after 22 laps and Lello, fresh from an impressive first outing in the Ferrari F1 car at the beginning of the week, was 5th, completing 27 laps, with a best time of 1:49.993s. The final session saw Raffaele reduce his time to 1:49.285s after 32 laps to be 9th quickest and Mitch, who did 25 laps, was also faster on 1:49.595s for 15th on the timing lists.
Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering: “These three days of testing in Abu Dhabi have been quite challenging, but also very interesting. The track conditions changed a lot compared to the race weekend, we encountered different grip levels, general conditions, also due to the second session, which was held at night.
We tested 6 different drivers, some with no knowledge of the track, car or tyres, like Norman Nato, where the focus was on helping them to get familiar with all these factors as quickly as possible. Others knew the track, the GP2 car, but were not used to our car. So there was an aspect of analysing the driving and capacity of each driver and letting them discover our car and how we as a team work as well, it was a pleasure to work with each of them.
We have a lot of information now to analyse to properly prepare fore next season.”