|The final pre-season testing for all the GP2 teams got underway at the Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain, on the 1st of April and Racing Engineering were in attendance with their new drivers Britain’s Jordan King and American Alexander Rossi.
The first morning session saw high temperatures and the track dusty so most of the teams used the time to begin setting up their cars and for Jordan it was a chance to learn the Sakhir track as this was his first time here. Alexander completed ten laps with a best time of 1:42.801s for 8th fastest while Jordan, after 16 laps, was just three tenths of a second slower with a lap of 1:43.101s for 13th.
It was even hotter in the afternoon but, with the track now clean, lap times were around one second faster than in the morning. Jordan was immediately on the pace going fastest after an hour and as times continued to fall and with 30 minutes remaining the Racing Engineering driver went back to the top of the timing sheets with a lap of 1:41.494s which would remain the quickest time of the day. Alexander was just seven tenths slower on 1:42.201s finishing in 12th, both drivers completing 20 laps.
The following day, Wednesday, saw practice delayed for an hour following a sandstorm that left the circuit and pits covered in sand and it had to be cleared before the cars could take to the track. It was Alexander’s turn to set the pace in the opening hour and then, as the track got quicker once again, Jordan was flying and at the end of the session he was 2nd fastest on 1:42.289s with Alexander 12th after a lap of 1:43.390s.
Alexander was quickest in the early stages of the afternoon but he and Jordan were working on their setups and did not go for a quick time and they finished the day with laps of 1:41.341s and 1:44.181s respectively.
The weather continued to be very hot for Thursday morning’s session and, with the temperatures forecast to rise, most teams took the opportunity to set some fast laps on the Pirelli soft compound tyres before running race simulations when it became too hot. Once again both Alexander and Jordan were amongst the fastest runners and they completed the morning with Alexander in 4th on 1:39.715s with Jordan right behind him in 7th with a time of 1:40.002s.
The final session of the three days saw most of the teams concentrate on race simulations including Jordan and Alexander so neither driver set any fast laps and they finished the day with Jordan completing 35 laps with a best time of 1:44.004s and Alexander on 1:45.565s after no less than 58 laps, more than any other driver.
The Racing Engineering team will now concentrate on preparing their cars for the first round of the 2015 GP2 Series which will be held here in Bahrain from the 17th to the 19th of April.
Thomas Lassus, Race Engineer: “I think the three days have been very productive because we have tested a lot of things on both cars and we have learnt a lot. We now know what is working and what is not and we understand why, therefore we have been putting it all together on the last morning and we have had both drivers in the top ten and getting a lot from their option tyres. It is always difficult in Bahrain with tyre degradation but I think we have been progressing positively and we are adapting our race setups to our 2015 drivers which has been going well and it is good to see we are performing with both cars and we will be aiming to score a lot of points every weekend with both drivers which is important for the Team Championship.”
Jordan King: “For me the three days of testing have been very encouraging. To come here and go quickest on the first day was very positive, firstly because I have never been here before and secondly because GP2 doesn't have a lot of time before qualifying so to be able to come to a new circuit and go quickly straight away was quite encouraging. Over the next two days we changed a lot of things so we have a lot of data to analyse so we can now sit down and see what worked and what didn’t and learn which direction to go in. For us, as a team, it has been very positive.”
Alexander Rossi:: “It has been an interesting test with all the different variables in the weather and we started out quite slowly as we tried quite a few things but by this morning on the third day everything came together and I think the team and I did a very good job of making sure we took one step at a time and understood everything that we were doing. As a result when we did the fast laps we were right there and this afternoon when we focussed on race runs I think we learned a lot. All in all these three days have been very successful, and I can’t wait for the first race.”