ART Grand Prix’s Charles Leclerc quickest in Yas Marina

Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc was fastest overall on day one of testing at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The ART Grand Prix tester’s best lap of 1:55.209 was almost half a second clear of his nearest opposition Antonio Fuoco (Trident) – which was set in the afternoon session. Matthew Parry – also having made the switch to test for the 2015 runners-up squad Trident; was quickest in the morning.

The opening day of testing got underway in very hot conditions. The 21 drivers fed onto the circuit to set installation laps with Campos Racing’s Steijn Schothorst first to set the pace in the 1m57’s. Koiranen GP’s Matevos Isaakyan improved to take P1 before an early red flag due to Brazilian rookie Pedro Cardoso stopping on track.
Once the action resumed, Brit Jack Aitken jumped to P2, before Ralph Boschung – the Swiss testing for Status Grand Prix demoted Aitken to third. Nirei Fukuzumi (ART Grand Prix) made contact with the barrier at T1 which caused a slightly longer delay. Once the track was green, Isaakyan led from Aitken, Boschung and Leclerc.

There was a short stoppage after Tatiana Calderon stopped on circuit with technical gremlins and when the track was live again; it was a Trident one-two with the experienced hands of Fuoco and Parry. The Italian improved on his personal best to become the first driver to dip into the 1m55’s.

In the final few moments it was all change as Parry flew to the top of the time-sheet, with Aitken also lapping in the 1m55’s to go second, with Fuoco third. Jake Dennis (Arden International), Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP), Kevin Joerg (Trident), Schothorst, Boschung, Isaakyan and Leclerc completed the top ten.
The field returned to the track for the afternoon session with all drivers using the medium compound from Pirelli. Boschung headed the pace early on before Leclerc was first to break into the 1m56’s. The Swiss ace responded by lapping faster by 0.068s with Leclerc retaliating to re-take P1 by half a second in a tasty duel.
Fuoco snuck into P2 splitting the pair before heading the timings by two tenth tenths. Again the Monegasque driver found some extra pace to fly to the top of the timesheet as the clock ticked down. Dennis also improved late on in the session to rise to third. With three minutes remaining, there was a red flag due to Joerg spinning at Turn 3. The session was never re-started.
Therefore at the chequered flag; Leclerc remained on top, in front of Fuoco, Dennis, Hughes, Isaakyan, Joerg, Boschung, Nabil Jeffri (ART Grand Prix), Fukuzumi and Parry.
Day two of testing will run from 09.00 – 11.30 // and 15:00 – 17:30 local times (GMT+4).
Yas Marina: Day 1
Morning Results
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Matthew Parry
Trident
1:55.800
17
2.
Jack Aitken
Koiranen GP
1:55.958
23
3.
Antonio Fuoco
Trident
1:55.993
17
4.
Jake Dennis
Arden International
1:56.121
18
5.
Jake Hughes
Koiranen GP
1:56.228
18
6.
Kevin Joerg
Trident
1:56.244
19
7.
Steijn Schothorst
Campos Racing
1:56.437
25
8.
Ralph Boschung
Status Grand Prix
1:56.536
19
9.
Matevos Isaakyan
Koiranen GP
1:56.829
12
10.
Charles Leclerc
ART Grand Prix
1:57.090
25
11.
Nabil Jeffri
ART Grand Prix
1:57.275
23
12.
Santino Ferrucci
Status Grand Prix
1:57.629
19
13.
Pedro Cardoso
Campos Racing
1:57.793
25
14.
Leonardo Pulcini
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.921
18
15.
Will Palmer
Arden International
1:57.932
21
16.
Tatiana Calderon
Status Grand Prix
1:58.004
20
17.
Antoni Ptak
Jenzer Motorsport
1:58.557
18
18.
Mahaveer Raghunathan
Campos Racing
1:58.792
27
19.
Giuliano Alesi
Arden International
1:59.175
22
20.
Nico Rindlisbacher
Jenzer Motorsport
1:59.180
18
21.
Nirei Fukuzumi
ART Grand Prix
2:16.963
4
Afternoon Results
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Charles Leclerc
ART Grand Prix
1:55.209
28
2.
Antonio Fuoco
Trident
1:55.657
25
3.
Jake Dennis
Arden International
1:55.760
29
4.
Jake Hughes
Koiranen GP
1:55.949
30
5.
Matevos Isaakyan
Koiranen GP
1:55.985
17
6.
Kevin Joerg
Trident
1:56.047
23
7.
Ralph Boschung
Status Grand Prix
1:56.065
23
8.
Nabil Jeffri
ART Grand Prix
1:56.156
28
9.
Nirei Fukuzumi
ART Grand Prix
1:56.292
32
10.
Matthew Parry
Trident
1:56.369
25
11.
Jack Aitken
Koiranen GP
1:56.450
26
12.
Steijn Schothorst
Campos Racing
1:56.621
18
13.
Tatiana Calderon
Status Grand Prix
1:56.664
25
14.
Santino Ferrucci
Status Grand Prix
1:56.755
22
15.
Will Palmer
Arden International
1:56.843
27
16.
Leonardo Pulcini
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.136
23
17.
Giuliano Alesi
Arden International
1:57.250
29
18.
Nico Rindlisbacher
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.444
30
19.
Pedro Cardoso
Campos Racing
1:57.515
29
20.
Mahaveer Raghunathan
Campos Racing
1:57.705
23
21.
Antoni Ptak
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.904
20