|All the GP2 teams attended the three days of testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and for the Racing Engineering team it was a chance for them to start preparing for the 2015 season with their new drivers, Jordan King and Alexander Rossi and for the drivers to learn about the new Drag Reduction System (DRS), similar to that used in Formula 1.
The first session took place on Monday morning and with the circuit suffering from dusty and windy conditions most of the teams used the first two hours of the session to work on the set-up of their cars. For the final hour the cars started to go faster as the track was now cleaner and Jordan went to the top of the timing sheets and then in the dying minutes, following a red flag period, Alexander went fastest with a time of 1:50.845s with Jordan in 8th on 1:51.822s.
In the afternoon times were nearly two seconds quicker as the circuit was now clean and the drivers were becoming more familiar with their cars. Once again both of the Racing Engineering drivers were setting very competitive times and with less than 30 minutes left Jordan went fastest and at the end of the three hour session his time of 1:49.303s was good enough for 5th with Alexander less than two tenths of a second behind his teammate on 1:49.474s for 9th fastest.
Tuesday’s morning session saw windy conditions again and most teams concentrated on race simulations and at the end of the three hours Alexander was 6th on 1:50.767s with Jordan 10th with a lap of 1:51.073s. The teams continued to go for long runs in the afternoon with Jordan and Alexander clocking up 46 laps between them and setting best laps of 1:53.684s and 1:54.024s respectively.
Wednesday, the final day of testing, saw the morning session once again affected by windy conditions as well as two red flags but the lap times fell further as many of the drivers fitted the super-soft Pirellis and went for some quick laps. Once again both the Racing Engineering drivers were setting competitive times and Alexander finished the session on 1:48.857s for 5th fastest with Jordan just three tenths of a second slower with a lap of 1:49.194s for 12th.
The afternoon session saw both drivers concentrate on race simulations and neither man tried for any fast laps so they finished the session with Jordan in 20th with a lap of 1:53.684s and Alexander in 22nd on 1:54.024s.
The Racing Engineering team leave Abu Dhabi in a very positive frame of mind with both Jordan and Alexander setting some very competitive times and both men fitting in very well in the Spanish team. All the GP2 teams will be coming together again for the final pre-season test at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain from the 1st to 3rd of April.
Sebastién Viger, Race Engineer: “We had three busy days of testing here in Abu Dhabi and we had two new drivers in our cars. We were a bit on the back foot compared to some other teams, who kept their drivers from last year, so our drivers had to adapt to our cars prior to the set up runs. But all went well with Alex topping the time sheets in the morning of the first day and it was quite good also to have Jordan in P5 in the afternoon. Both drivers adapted quite well and quickly. With Jordan being a rookie we went through all the procedures and information necessary for qualifying and race runs as well as other situations during a race weekend and it was a lot of information for him to process. But overall we worked well with both drivers and I think they were happy with the car, we discovered a lot of things on the car, which is important, and with the implementation of the DRS it will be interesting this year when it comes to strategy.”
Jordan King: “This test was really good and I think we made quite a bit of progress. I have definitely learned a massive amount, everything down from tyre temperatures, which I have never had before. We did race runs, slightly shorter runs, qualifying runs, some pit stops and some race starts, so I think we have covered most of the bases, and if we can go to Bahrain starting where we finished here, then I think we will be in really good shape. Taking everything we learned from the race and qualifying runs, we can already start from a good base. Bahrain being a new circuit for me will definitely throw a spanner in the works, but we have three days to prepare before the race weekend so I think we won’t have to focus as much on what we have done here in Abu Dhabi because I need to learn the circuit. I worked well with the guys and really enjoyed myself, so I can’t really complain too much.”
Alexander Rossi:: “Abu Dhabi was a very successful initial test and I felt right at home very quickly. Throughout the test we proved our pace, and covered a very broad run programme over the three days. Everyone in the team is extremely professional, focused and talented, and it’s a real privilege to drive for Racing Engineering. I'm looking forward to debriefing and training next week in preparation for the second testing session in Bahrain, which cannot come soon enough.”