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A productive return

05.02.2011 The DAMS team running in its resplendent, newly-designed black and yellow livery had a positive second day’s testing in Abu Dhabi. Yesterday, Romain Grosjean set the fastest time, over 4/10s quicker than the second-placed driver, a country mile by GP2 standards. Today he was always among the front-runners. He dropped back only at the very end of the session, finishing with the seventh-best time overall as he was blocked by a red flag just when he was about to shod new tyres. Today’s result does not reflect Grosjean’s potential; all the evidence points to him being one of the quickest drivers in the GP2 Series. Pal Varhaug made his GP2 debut after coming from GP3, and he continued his apprenticeship conscientiously listening to his engineers’ advice. For the same reason as Grosjean, he was unable to move up the timesheets today (20th), as after his encouraging sixteenth-best lap yesterday, he could have gone quicker. Next time! The aim of this pre-season test was to get to grips with the new car and the new Pirelli tyres. Overall, the team is happy as it managed to run through most of its programme. Loïc David, general manager: “A couple of very constructive days’ work. They helped us to find some very interesting avenues to explore, especially for the season’s setup. We’re delighted with Romain’s quickest time yesterday as it confirms that we’re heading in the right direction. It would have been the same story today had it not been for that unfortunate interruption. We’re feeling pretty optimistic.” Romain Grosjean: “It’s a bit frustrating not to have clinched the job at the end of the session because of a red flag. Otherwise, like yesterday, I reckon I could have set the quickest time. I’m feeling very confident, the car reacts well and the pace is there.” Pal Verhaug: “I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to put on new tyres this afternoon and set a better time. I think I could have finished in fifteenth spot, a bit higher up than yesterday. Overall I’m very happy; I’m learning and I feel I’m progressing thanks to the team.” Next test sessions in Abu Dhabi: 6th/7th February. First Asian GP2 Series races: 12th/13th February.
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