Less than two weeks after the conclusion of the 2010 season, the GP2 Series paddock flew back to Abu Dhabi to conduct four days of post-season testing. A mix of old and new faces were behind the wheels of the twenty four cars today, with six drivers coming from GP3 Series, namely Champion Esteban Gutierrez at ART Grand Prix, Vice Champion Robert Wickens at iSport, Roberto Merhi and Simon Trummer at Arden, James Jakes at Scuderia Coloni and Stefano Coletti at Trident. Both Gutierrez and Coletti have already been confirmed as GP2 drivers for 2011.

As the pitlane opened this morning, Rodolfo Gonzalez at Racing Engineering took to the track first, but it was Charles Pic at Barwa Addax who set the early pace with a 1:49.379 lap before Super Nova’s Marcus Ericsson bettered the Frenchman’s laptime by one tenth of a second. With one hour left on the clock, Jakes moved up to P1 but only temporarily as Michael Herck at DPR claimed the top spot a few minutes later – his fastest laptime of 1:48.447 (one tenth faster than Oliver Turvey’s pole position in this season’s last round) was never beaten. The session was briefly red flagged four times as less experienced drivers span on track without damaging their cars.

The afternoon session started off slowly with Fabio Leimer taking to the track first at the wheel of Champions’ Rapax car. Coletti set the early pace ahead of newcomer Andrea Caldarelli at Racing Engineering, with Herck hot on their tail. Mid-session saw Gutierrez moving up to P1 and staying at the top of the timing sheets until Joylon Palmer at iSport improved the Mexican’s fastest laptime. The last ten minutes of the session felt like a qualifying session with Racing Engineering’s Rodolfo Gonzalez snatching top spot while Caldarelli, iSport’s Wickens and newcomer Kevin Ceccon at Coloni all moved up to the Top 5. A short red flag did not tame the field and in the dying minutes Ceccon’s teammate for the day Jakes clocked in a blazing laptime of a 1:47.790. Gutierrez’s last efforts could only land him 0.4 seconds behind the Brit while Pic’s very last attempt could not get him higher than P3.

Tomorrow’s session will start at 9am local time.

Day 1 – morning session

1. Michael Herck DPR 1:48.447 (28)
2. James Jakes – Scuderia Coloni – 1:48.530 (21)
3. Robert Wickens – iSport International – 1:48.761 (19)
4. Andrea Caldarelli – Racing Engineering – 1:48.869 (25)
5. Josef Kral – Barwa Addax Team – 1:48.889 (27)
6. Esteban Gutierrez – ART Grand Prix – 1:48.955 (20)
7. Sam Bird – Ocean Racing Tech – 1:49.106 (18)
8. Stefano Coletti – Trident Racing – 1:49.137 (15)
9. Roberto Mehri – Arden International – 1:49.164 (19)
10. Rodolfo Gonzalez – Racing Engineering – 1:49.194 (25)
11. Marcus Ericsson – Super Nova Racing – 1:49.217 (19)
12. Charles Pic – Barwa Addax Team – 1:49.288 (13)
13. Joylon Palmer – iSport International – 1:49.764 (25)
14. Jan Charouz – ART Grand Prix – 1:49.970 (27)
15. Kevin Ceccon – Scuderia Coloni – 1:49.981 (30)
16. Fabio Leimer – Rapax – 1:50.112 (10)
17. Nathanael Berthon – Dams – 1:50.254 (25)
18. Ivan Samarin – Dams – 1:50.470 (30)
19. Julian Leal – Trident Racing – 1:50.684 (12)
20 Nicolas Marroc – Ocean Racing Tech – 1:50.757 (25)
21. Jake Rosenzweig – Super Nova Racing – 1:51.440 (20)
22. Simon Trummer – Arden International – 1:51.593 (20)
23. Armaan Ebrahim – Rapax – 1:53.914 (28)
24. Camilo Zurcher – DPR – 2:33.817 (1)

Day 1 – Afternoon session

1. James Jakes – Scuderia Coloni – 1:47.790 (19)
2. Esteban Gutierrez – ART Grand Prix – 1:48.209 (27)
3. Charles Pic – Barwa Addax Team – 1:48.302 (36)
4. Rodolfo Gonzalez – Racing Engineering – 1:48.302 (20)
5. Robert Wickens – iSport International – 1:48.408 (20)
6. Stefano Coletti – Trident Racing – 1:48.413 (27)
7. Josef Kral – Barwa Addax Team – 1:48.426 (24)
8. Michael Herck – DPR – 1:48.555 (19)
9. Andrea Caldarelli – Racing Engineering – 1:48.635 (26)
10. Marcus Ericsson – Super Nova Racing – 1:48.657 (16)
11. Joylon Palmer – iSport International – 1:48.836 (21)
12. Sam Bird – Ocean Racing Tech – 1:48.849 (19)
13. Kevin Ceccon – Scuderia Coloni – 1:48.870 (13)
14. Roberto Merhi – Arden International – 1:48.947 (27)
15. Jan Charouz – ART Grand Prix – 1:49.575 (28)
16. Nathanael Berthon – Dams – 1:49.767 (31)
17. Ivan Samarin – Dams – 1:49.950 (25)
18. Julian Leal – Trident Racing – 1:50.050 (8)
19. Simon Trummer – Arden International – 1:50.056 (29)
20 Nicolas Marroc – Ocean Racing Tech – 1:50.651 (15)
21. Armaan Ebrahim – Rapax – 1:51.073 (23)
22. Jake Rosenzweig – Super Nova Racing – 1:51.419 (8)
23. Fabio Leimer – Rapax – 1:51.605 (3)
24. Camilo Zurcher – DPR – — (—)