GP2: Line-up for pre-season test in Abu Dhabi confirmed

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The full entry list for the upcoming GP2 Series pre-season test in Abu Dhabi has been confirmed as teams begin their final preparations before the start of the new racing year.

Formula 1 may resume racing next weekend in Australia, but its premier feeder series won’t be back in action until the middle of April in support of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

However, the GP2 drivers and teams will get their first taste of on-track action in 2015 at the Yas Marina Circuit on Monday, with the first of two pre-season tests getting underway.

The majority of the teams have confirmed their drivers for the season, but a handful will get a chance to impress in Abu Dhabi and make a last-ditch bid to secure one of the remaining seats.

MP Motorsport will run with Italian driver Vittorio Ghirelli in Abu Dhabi alongside Daniel De Jong, with the latter being firmed up for a second season with the Dutch team.

As reported on Saturday, Status Grand Prix will field Richie Stanaway for all three days of testing in Abu Dhabi as he bids to graduate from GP3 in 2015. Swiss driver Zoel Amberg is also hoping to impress for Lazarus GP with the seat vacated by American driver Conor Daly up for grabs.

The only team that is yet to confirm either of its drivers for 2015, Hilmer Motorsport, runs two former GP2 drivers in this first pre-season test: Sergio Canamasas and Axcil Jefferies.

Following this three-day test, the teams will meet once again in Bahrain from April 1-3 for the final running before the season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 18.

GP2 Pre-Season Test Abu Dhabi – Entry List

CAR
DRIVER
COUNTRY
TEAM
01
Pierre Gasly
FRA
DAMS
02
Alex Lynn
GBR
DAMS
03
Julian Leal
COL
Carlin
04
Marco Sorensen
DEN
Carlin
05
Stoffel Vandoorne
BEL
ART Grand Prix
06
Nobuharu Matsushita
JAP
ART Grand Prix
07
Jordan King
GBR
Racing Engineering
08
Alexander Rossi
USA
Racing Engineering
09
Mitch Evans
NZL
RUSSIAN TIME
10
Artem Markelov
RUS
RUSSIAN TIME
11
Raffaele Marciello
ITA
Trident
12
Rene Binder
AUT
Trident
14
Arthur Pic
FRA
Campos Racing
15
Rio Haryanto
INA
Campos Racing
16
Vittorio Ghirelli
ITA
MP Motorsport
17
Daniel De Jong
NED
MP Motorsport
18
Sergey Sirotkin
RUS
Rapax
19
Robert Visoiu
ROU
Rapax
20
André Negrao
BRA
Arden International
21
Norman Nato
FRA
Arden International
22
Marlon Stockinger
PHI
Status Grand Prix
23
Richie Stanaway
NZL
Status Grand Prix
24
Sergio Canamasas
ESP
Hilmer Motorsport
25
Axcil Jefferies
ZIM
Hilmer Motorsport
26
Nathanaël Berthon
FRA
Lazarus
27
Zoel Amberg
SUI
Lazarus

 

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994