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Albon tops second day of Abu Dhabi GP2 test, Lorandi leads in GP3

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Alexander Albon continued to impress during his first GP2 test by topping the timesheets on the second day of running in Abu Dhabi.

Albon, 20, finished runner-up to Charles Leclerc in this year’s GP3 Series, losing out at the final round of the year in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

The Thai-British racer enjoyed his first taste of a GP2 car on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, linking up with ART Grand Prix for the test.

Albon shot to the top of the timesheets in the evening session at the Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday, posting a fastest time of 1:49.062 to edge out GP2 veteran Raffaele Marciello and rival Leclerc at the top of the timesheets.

Marciello still holds the fastest time of the collective test so far, recording a lap of 1:48.937 on Wednesday ahead of the final five hours of running on Friday.

In GP3, 18-year-old Alessio Lorandi set the pace on the second day of running in Abu Dhabi, posting a fastest lap of 1:55.734 for Jenzer Motorsport.

American youngster Santino Ferrucci finished an impressive second for Trident, beating the time he set with DAMS on Wednesday by four-tenths of a second, while Steijn Schothorst finished third-fastest.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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