DAMS duo Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn headed days one and two of the first GP2 Series pre-season test in Abu Dhabi, with Status GP’s Richie Stanaway quickest on day three.
Gasly took the top spot just prior to the chequered flag on day one at the Yas Marina circuit, following a brief toe-to-toe on the timesheets with Arthur Pic (Campos).
The Frenchman initially headed the scoreboard with a 1:49.089s not long after a brief red flag stoppage caused when Carlin’s Julian Leal stopped out on track; however an improvement from Pic encouraged the Red Bull junior to go quicker still, with Gasly settling on a 1:48.897s come the close of day.
Racing Engineering’s Alexander Rossi was fastest in the morning, albeit on what can best be described as a very green track and blustery conditions. Marlon Stöckinger (status GP) also caused a brief stoppage when he ground to a halt at turn five not long before lunch.
A fast time in the morning session was enough to keep Lynn ahead for the entirety of day two. The reigning GP3 Series champion – and Williams Formula One reserve – set his best on super-softs as the clocked ticked toward lunch. For the most part, it was day where the combatants completed longer runs and race stints; however that did not stop the occasionally qualifying run, as conditions reached the optimum at the height of the day. Gasly featured again, as the Frenchman made it a DAMS 1-2, courtesy of a low-fuel super-soft tyre run.
There were a couple of red flag periods during the day when Rio Haryanto (Campos) and Norman Nato (Arden) caused stoppages; however Nato recovered to top the afternoon session on super-softs.
Richie Stanaway turned the quickest time on the final day of testing with a 1:48.441s, as times returned to their day one marker. There was a ginger fight for the top spot on super-softs, with Evans, Raffaele Marciello (Trident) and Stoffel Vandoorne (ART GP) swapping quick times, only for the trio to be demoted by Stanaway and the persistent Gasly.
Sergey Sirotkin found some speed to head the slower afternoon session; however the series of red flags in the afternoon peppered the running with interruptions. RUSSIAN TIME duo Artem Markelov (twice) and Mitch Evans brought out brief red flags, as did Zoël Amberg (Venezuela GP Lazarus); however the biggest incident was courtesy of Rossi, who clattered the barrier lightly at turn eight.
The teams also used the time to test the championship’s new DRS, which is being introduced to the GP2 Series this year. The system will operate in the same way as in Formula One, with drivers behind obtaining an advantage at certain sectors of the track should they be within one second of the car ahead.