Tom Dillmann set the quickest time over three days as GP2 returned in 2013 with the first pre-season test at Jerez. Dillman – who still doesn’t have a confirmed drive for 2013 – set a fastest time of 1:24.400 on Wednesday morning for new team Hilmer Motorsport, which was clearly the best time for quick laps as 15 of the 24 drivers set their fastest laps at this point. Stefano Coletti posted the second fastest time for the Rapax squad, just 0.018 seconds slower than Dillmann with James Calado’s ART in third – 0.125 seconds back – as well as posting the quickest time on the final day. Just over 3 tenths separated the top seven while just 1.4 seconds separated 23 of the 24 drivers, with the only exception being Rio Haryanto for Barwa Addax, who was nearly 6 tenths off of 23rd placed Ma Qing Hua.
Strangely, Dillmann also completed the fewest laps with a total of only 73 throughout the three days which was 32 laps less than anyone else. Simon Trummer, Julian Leal and Haryanto led the lap count with 175 apiece although it clearly did the latter no favours with the slowest time.
The first day started slowly and cold as many of the drivers decided just to do an installation lap before pitting and waiting for the temperatures to rise before getting down to some more serious running. Pal Varhaug caused a brief and early red flag as he spun and stalled his Hilmer, while his teammate for this test, Dillman posted the quickest time on the restart. Johnny Cecotto immediately bettered this for Arden and held the top spot until the last hour, where Marcus Ericsson took it from him in the DAMS machine. The final hour had more action than the rest of the morning put together as two red flags interrupted teams running. The first was caused by Sergio Canamasas crashing his Caterham at turn 2 while Mitch Evans’ Arden stopping at turn 13 ended the morning session early. Jolyon Palmer was quickest in the morning with a 1:25.330 from Ericsson and Rene Binder. In the afternoon the drivers mainly focused on race distances with the only stoppage being for Daniel De Jong’s MP Motorsport at turn 7. While Fabio Leimer, Stéphane Richelmi and Calado all had stints at the top it was Dillmann who topped the times at the end of the afternoon session from Leimer and Felipe Nasr. Coincidentally, these three also topped the times for the whole day as drivers seemed to go quicker in the afternoon.
The second day started off as many would expect a GP3 session too, with four red flags – three of them within the first hour! Firstly Ericsson threw his DAMS car off the road at turn 10 getting beached in the gravel and just after the restart Nathanaël Berthon spun and stopped. Nasr caused another when he had a scare at turn 3 while the fourth was caused by an incident between Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Daniel Abt, as the former ran into the back of the latter. Calado went top when the session restarted but Dillmann soon posted a lap that would eventually become the quickest time of the test overall. Coletti finished the morning second with Calado in third. The afternoon session was undoubtedly calmer with only one red flag late on after Coletti ran wide at turn 1. Dillmann set the pace early on but Richelmi bettered it to finish the afternoon fastest from Dillmann and Cecotto. The morning’s three fastest times were the top three of the day and indeed the top three of the test.
The final day of the test started on a damp circuit giving drivers a chance to sample some wet conditions. It didn’t last long however as the sun quickly appeared to begin drying the track. Cecotto set the early pace before causing a brief red flag and the two DAMS boys of Richelmi and Ericsson bettered his time after. Palmer caused another short red flag as Quaife-Hobbs snatched the top spot afterwards and Richelmi also posted a time to pip his teammate. The tracks was considerably dryer in the afternoon as Calado took the top spot and never relinquished it. Trummer improved to second as Leimer jumped into third and the three of them ended the afternoon, and the final day of the test, on top.
Fastest Time by each Driver over the three days
1. Tom Dillmann* (Hilmer Motorsport) – 1m:24.400s – 73 Laps
2. Stefano Coletti (Rapax) – 1:24.418 (+0.018) – 128
3. James Calado (ART Grand Prix) – 1:24.525 (+0.125) – 169
4. Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering) – 1:24.534 (+0.134) – 129
5. Stéphane Richelmi (DAMS) – 1:24.604 (+0.204) – 173
6. Felipe Nasr (Carlin) – 1:24.691 (+0.291) – 164
7. Marcus Ericsson (DAMS) – 1:24.712 (+0.312) – 160
8. Sergio Canamasas* (Caterham Racing) – 1:24.963 (+0.563) – 161
9. Kevin Giovesi* (Venezuela GP Lazarus) – 1:24.967 (0.567) – 163
10. Rene Binder (Venezuela GP Lazarus) – 1:24.976 (+0.576) – 122
11. Simon Trummer (Rapax) – 1:25.023 (+0.623) – 175
12. Nathanaël Berthon* (Trident Racing) – 1:25.059 (+0.659) – 105
13. Jake Rosenzweig (Barwa Addax Team) – 1:25.243 (+0.843) – 168
14. Mitch Evans (Arden International) – 1:25.258 (+0.858) – 170
15. Jolyon Palmer (Carlin) – 1:25.276 (+0.876) – 163
16. Johnny Cecotto (Arden International) – 1:25.292 (+0.892) – 157
17. Daniel Abt (ART Grand Prix) – 1:25.312 (+0.912) – 155
18. Julian Leal (Racing Engineering) – 1:25.318 (+0.918) – 175
19. Robin Frijns* (Trident Racing) – 1:25.335 (+0.935) – 123
20. Pal Varhaug* (Hilmer Motorsport) – 1:25.391 (+0.991) – 109
21. Daniel De Jong (MP Motorsport) – 1:25.506 (+1.106) – 149
22. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (MP Motorsport) – 1:25.604 (+1.204) – 153
23. Ma Qing Hua* (Caterham Racing) – 1:25.800 (+1.400) – 171
24. Rio Haryanto (Barwa Addax Team) – 1:26.398 (+1.998) – 175
* denotes a driver who is not yet confirmed in a team.