Home Formula 2 Nobuharu Matsushita stays on top on opening GP2 test day

Nobuharu Matsushita stays on top on opening GP2 test day

by Peter Allen
Nobuharu Matsushita

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service

Nobuharu Matsushita was quickest again for ART Grand Prix in the evening session on day one of GP2 post-season testing in Abu Dhabi.

DAMS tester Nicholas Latifi had occupied top spot before Matsushita went over half a second clear inside the final hour under the lights at Yas Marina.

The Honda protege, who finished ninth in the GP2 standings in his rookie season in Europe, was over a second quicker than he had gone when he topped the morning session.

Latifi held on to second place ahead of the man whose car he’s driving this week, Pierre Gasly, who gave the Prema team third on its first day in GP2.

Like his team-mate for the day Matsushita, Oliver Rowland repeated his fourth place from the morning, within 36 thousandths of second place.

Russian Time regular Artem Markelov was fifth ahead of MP Motorsport tester Nick Yelloly and Arden racer Norman Nato.

Carlin drivers Richie Stanaway and Dean Stoneman were closely matched in eighth and ninth with Andre Negrao 10th for Rapax.

As in the morning, European Formula 3 champion Felix Rosenqvist (Status) edged out GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto (Trident) to be the top GP2 debutant, 13th overall.

Matsushita will step aside on Thursday as Nato and Marlon Stockinger test for ART, with Rowland heading with Rosenqvist to Prema and Gasly switching to Russian Time.

Ghiotto will sample Racing Engineering in place of Sergey Sirotkin who returns to Rapax, with Ghiotto’s GP3 team-mate Artur Janosz to make his GP2 bow for Trident alongside Zoel Amberg, returning after health issues ruled him out during 2015.

Two drivers will arrive at the test fresh from trying Audi DTM machinery at Jerez: Mitch Evans teams up with Sean Gelael at Campos in the team’s expected 2016 line-up, while Antonio Giovinazzi will take over from Stanaway at Carlin for the evening running.

Jimmy Eriksson moves to Trident to join fellow Swede Gustav Malja at Arden, while Alex Fontana heads from Rapax to his GP3 squad Status.

Wednesday evening session results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:47.903 29
2 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:48.418 0.515 35
3 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 1:48.437 0.534 23
4 Oliver Rowland ART Grand Prix 1:48.454 0.551 30
5 Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:48.581 0.678 18
6 Nick Yelloly MP Motorsport 1:48.744 0.841 10
7 Norman Nato Arden International 1:48.780 0.877 27
8 Richie Stanaway Carlin 1:48.791 0.888 23
9 Dean Stoneman Carlin 1:48.865 0.962 25
10 Andre Negrao Rapax 1:48.875 0.972 25
11 Jordan King Racing Engineering 1:48.943 1.040 29
12 Tio Ellinas Russian Time 1:48.997 1.094 35
13 Felix Rosenqvist Status Grand Prix 1:49.165 1.262 29
14 Luca Ghiotto Trident 1:49.213 1.310 26
15 Sergey Sirotkin Racing Engineering 1:49.223 1.320 32
16 Gustav Malja Arden International 1:49.423 1.520 29
17 Alex Fontana Rapax 1:49.747 1.844 35
18 Pascal Wehrlein Prema Racing 1:50.030 2.127 17
19 Jimmy Eriksson Trident 1:50.110 2.207 32
20 Sean Gelael Campos Racing 1:50.491 2.588 34
21 Richard Gonda MP Motorsport 1:50.536 2.633 27
22 Philo Armand Status Grand Prix 1:51.558 3.655 27
23 Konstantin Tereshchenko Campos Racing 1:51.607 3.704 5
24 Alex Lynn DAMS 1:52.515 4.612 29
Thursday GP2 test entry list
Team Drivers
DAMS 1. Nicholas Latifi 2. Alex Lynn
Carlin 3. Dean Stoneman 4. Richie Stanaway/Antonio Giovinazzi
ART Grand Prix 5. Marlon Stockinger 6. Norman Nato
Racing Engineering 7. Jordan King 8. Luca Ghiotto
Russian Time 9. Pierre Gasly 10. Artem Markelov
Trident 11. Artur Janosz 12. Zoel Amberg
Campos Racing 14. Sean Gelael 15. Mitch Evans
MP Motorsport 16. Richard Gonda 17. Nick Yelloly
Rapax 18. Sergey Sirotkin 19. Andre Negrao
Arden International 20. Gustav Malja 21. Jimmy Eriksson
Status Grand Prix 22. Philo Armand 23. Alex Fontana
Prema Racing 26. Oliver Rowland 27. Felix Rosenqvist