The Yas Marina Circuit has been given the thumbs up by the GP2 Asia drivers after they had the opportunity to test on the track. The Formula One fraternity are due to start arriving in Abu Dhabi early next weekend as preparations continue for the inaugural Grand Prix next Sunday, but the two-day test for GP2 cars was the first time that single-seater cars hit the track aiming for competitive times since building work had been completed on the Hermann Tilke designed project.
GP2 cars took part in test sessions on Friday and yesterday, running in daylight and then in the dark, as the track was driven on in all the conditions that the Formula One cars will face during the Grand Prix weekend. The 5.55km Hermann Tilke track certainly proved popular with the 23 drivers who took part. Luca Filippi, who set the fastest time during Friday's sessions with a time of 1min 52.842sec, is confident that racing in the dark under lighting will not be a problem for the drivers.
"It was really nice," he said of driving at night. "I have to say the colour of the light is bright but it doesn't give any problem driving, even with a dark visor [on the helmet] on." The Brazilian driver Loiz Raza, who drives for the Barwa Addax Team, enthused: "The track has fast corners, slow corners like a street circuit, long straights, and hard brakes. "My first impression was very good. You can feel the elevation changes - going uphill and you can't see anything and then downhill you see a great view."
Roldan Rodriquez, who races for the Scuderia Coloni team, is confident spectators at the Grand Prix will be entertained. "It will be very easy to lose the traction on the corners, making it difficult for drivers and very good for the public," the Spaniard said. Spectators will also hope to see the cars overtake and Edoardo Piscopo believes that the vast width of parts of the track will allow for that.
The Italian, who drove for the DAMS team, said: "It will be challenging, a driver's track, there are some nice corners, very wide so we should be able to pass." The German driver Christian Vietoris was also impressed, saying: "The combination of the layout, and some very fast corners, very slow corners, a mixture between long straights - it looks very promising in terms of a racing show." Formula One cars are expected to set times around or below the 1min 40sec mark.
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