GP2: Bumper crop of Brits shine in Ricard testing

By Andy Darley

CalendarFriday, November 13th, 2009

 
 

Three days of GP2 testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard saw James Jakes twice top the timesheets and every session feature at least one British driver among the top three fastest performers.

Jakes, who scored a podium in GP2 Asia last year for Super Nova but did not transfer into the main series, was the only experienced Brit taking part, alongside rookies Oliver Turvey, Sam Bird, Will Bratt, Max Chilton and – for the third day only – Jon Lancaster.

He set top 10 times in both of the day one sessions and then picked his pace up further as testing continued. His times in the morning sessions of days two and three were the fastest of each day, although neither beat Michael Herck’s mark of the first day, and he was also second-fastest on the afternoon of day two.

Super Nova team boss David Sears said: “James drove extremely well over the whole three day test being the fastest driver on days two and three. On the first day Michael Herek was fastest although his car was found to be underweight – and for the following two days he could not touch his previous time, so perhaps James was really the fastest driver over the three days.”

Jakes himself said: “We’ve had two really good days, shame we weren’t up there on the first day, but I think we managed to prove ourselves on the following days. We arrived on Tuesday and the car worked well. We tried a few different options this week, but we came back to where we started each time. The car felt good, and ready for next year which is great.”

Turvey, who is stepping up from World Series by Renault, was fastest in the final session and ever-present in the top 10 of the 22 or more runners.

Will Bratt – among the least experienced of the Brits – set one of the six fastest times of the whole test by finishing fourth in the very quick afternoon session of the second day.

Day one:
Morning top three: Michael Herck, Oliver Turvey, Christian Vietoris. (Sam Bird 5th, James Jakes 7th, Max Chilton 11th, Will Bratt 16th of 23.)
Afternoon top three: Herck, Fabio Leimer, Bird. (Turvey 4th, Jakes 8th, Bratt 12th, Chilton 15th of 24.)
Day two:
Morning top three: Jakes, Luiz Razia, Herck. (Bird 6th, Turvey 7th, Chilton 18th, Bratt 19th of 24.)
Afternoon top three: Razia, Jakes, Jules Bianchi. (Bratt 4th, Turvey 8th, Bird 9th, Chilton 15th of 22.)
Day three:
Morning top three: Jakes, Bianchi, Stefano Coletti. (Bratt 5th, Turvey 9th, Bird 12th, Chilton 15th, Jon Lancaster 23rd of 24.)
Afternoon top three: Turvey, Coletti, Bird. (Bratt 4th, Jakes 9th, Lancaster 15th, Chilton 17th of 24.)

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