James Jakes was quickest on the first day of this week's GP2 test at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina track. The 23-year-old Briton stayed with the Coloni team with which he had contested the season finale at the same venue, and led the way with a late 1m47.790sec lap in the afternoon. He will try out Racing Engineering's car tomorrow.
Jakes, who has raced in GP2 Asia for two years but had not entered the main series until his recent outing, had earlier been second in the morning session behind Michael Herck, who is having a final appearance with family team DPR (which does not have a 2011 entry) this week before joining Coloni next season.
GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez took second for ART in the second session, ahead of Charles Pic, who switched from Arden to Addax for the test. Other GP2 regulars trying out different teams included Rodolfo Gonzalez (moving from Arden to Racing Engineering), Josef Kral (Super Nova to Addax), Sam Bird (ART to Ocean) and Fabio Leimer (Ocean to Rapax).
GP3 runner-up Robert Wickens was fifth fastest for iSport, ahead of series returnee Stefano Coletti, who has signed with Trident for 2011 after a year of GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and Auto GP.
Italian Formula 3 frontrunner Andrea Caldarelli made his GP2 debut with Racing Engineering and took fourth in the morning and ninth in the afternoon.
Formula 2 runner-up Jolyon Palmer is eyeing GP2 for next year and is running with iSport today. He was 11th quickest in session two. Another newcomer to impress was GP3 and F3 Euro Series driver Roberto Merhi, who was ninth in the morning with Arden.
Current champion team Rapax had a quiet day, with Leimer and former F2 driver Armaan Ebrahim both in the lower half of the times with its cars.
The test resumes tomorrow, when today's pacesetter Coloni will run long-time GP2 driver Luca Filippi. Other notable moves for day two include Bird switching to DAMS and FR3.5 race-winner Nathanael Berthon – who was driving for DAMS today – in action with ART.