“GP2 Series: Dillmann joins new RUSSIAN TIME team; Coletti and Calado top final test”

© GP2 Media Services.
© GP2 Media Services.

Tom Dillmann has become the first driver to join the new GP2 Series squad RUSSIAN TIME ahead of the 2013 season.

The Frenchman ran with the German-based squad at the final pre-season test at Barcelona, while Robin Frijns, Christopher Zanella and Luciano Bacheta filled the second seat.

It was an impressive three-day run for both Dillmann and RUSSIAN TIME, with the former notching up 150 laps, although much of the test was hampered by changeable weather conditions throughout.

With the opening round of the series now less than two weeks away, RUSSIAN TIME have certainly given themselves precious little opportunity to fully prepare for the season start; however Team Principal and Founder Igor Mazepa is clearly aware of the enormity of the task ahead.
“We know that it will be a challenge to be quickly on par with the other teams, but we have managed to put together a group of people whose experience in GP2 will be invaluable and we are pretty confident that we will do a good job from the get-go.”

RUSSIAN TIME’s entry into the category was initiated when long time participant iSport International withdrew last month citing an inability to secure suitably budgeted drivers to fund their efforts.

A successful investment banker, Mazepa was elected as Chairman to the Board of the Ukrainian Exchange in 2008, eventually leading him to be named as the best manager of his nation’s stock market by rating house Economy.
Mazepa also enjoyed notable stints with Russian-American company Prospect Investments, Foyil Securities New Europe and MFK Interregional Financial Company, before founding Concorde Capital in 2004, eventually leading the company to be one of Ukraine’s banking services.

Mazepa’s deep pockets could mean RUSSIAN TIME may not need to worry so much about taking on drivers with a budget – a delight for Dillmann who lost his seat with Rapax last season when his sponsorship ran dry.
For Dillmann, the relief is clear: “First of all, I would like to thank Igor Mazepa and RUSSIAN TIME for this opportunity.” He continued, “They are new to the Series, but they have put everything in place to make sure that we are competitive from the start. I hope that my experience in GP2 will help them even more.”

It is safe to say buying a GP2 Series team is something of a sideline for Mazepa; however the desire to promote Russian and other Baltic state drivers through to the higher echelons of single-seater racing rests behind this buy out.
Motopark Academy’s Timo Rumpfkell will lead RUSSIAN TIME’s racing effort. The German has helped the likes of Scott Speed, Sebastien Buemi and Valtteri Bottas climb the ranks to Formula One, while other graduates include Antonio Felix da Costa, Brandon Hartley, Felipe Albuquerque and Frank Kechele.

Meanwhile ART Grand Prix pilot James Calado and Stefano Coletti (Rapax) displayed timesheet topping pace during this weeks GP2 Series test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Coletti headed the times on the opening day, but it was Calado quickest through a wet morning session; an effort the Englishman repeated on the following morning. As conditions deteriorated through Wednesday, Johnny Cecotto Jr brought his Arden machine to the top of the sheets. Coletti proved quickest on the final day, with Carlin’s Felipe Nasr showing his hand in the afternoon.
Red flags became commonplace as conditions varied throughout the test. Rio Haryanto, Kevin Giovesi, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Cecotto Jr, Daniel Abt, Riccardo Agostini, Julian Leal, Rene Binder and Ma Qinghua all suffered offs or light spins.

The opening round of the 2013 GP2 Series goes live in two weeks time at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

2013 GP2 Series 2nd pre-season test (Barcelona; March 5-7; combined times) 
Pos  Driver                Team                Time 
 1.  Stefano Coletti      Rapax               1m29.055s 
 2.  Marcus Ericsson      DAMS                1m29.217s
 3.  Felipe Nasr          Carlin              1m29.381s 
 4.  Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                1m29.453s 
 5.  Jolyon Palmer        Carlin              1m29.467s 
 6.  Sergio Canamasas     Caterham            1m29.611s 
 7.  James Calado         ART                 1m29.624s 
 8.  Kevin Giovesi        Lazarus             1m29.812s 
 9.  Tom Dillmann         Russian Time        1m29.843s 
10.  Fabio Leimer         Racing Engineering  1m29.862s 
11.  Mitch Evans          Arden               1m29.902s 
12.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  MP                  1m29.914s 
13.  Robin Frijns         Trident             1m29.951s 
14.  Daniel Abt           ART                 1m29.994s 
15.  Daniel de Jong       MP                  1m30.037s 
16.  Robin Frijns         Russian Time        1m30.053s 
17.  Pal Varhaug          Hilmer              1m30.300s 
18.  Johnny Cecotto       Arden               1m30.323s 
19.  Conor Daly           Hilmer              1m30.417s 
20.  Rene Binder          Lazarus             1m30.454s 
21.  Julian Leal          Racing Engineering  1m30.601s 
22.  Jake Rosenzweig      Addax               1m30.620s 
23.  Simon Trummer        Rapax               1m30.667s 
24.  Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer              1m30.724s 
25.  Rio Haryanto         Addax               1m30.813s 
26.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Trident             1m31.029s 
27.  Ma Qing Hua          Caterham            1m31.035s 
28.  Luciano Bacheta      Russian Time        1m32.712s 
29.  Christopher Zanella  Russian Time        1m53.772s (wet session)

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