Around lunchtime last Thursday Alvaro Parente was at the Algarve circuit, working with his day job of developing McLaren's MP4-12C GT racer. The next morning, he was out on track again, but this time it was at Barcelona, and he was strapped into a GP2 car. As you can imagine, making that happen was a bit of a rush.
The former British F3 and World Series by Renault champion only heard of a potential mad Iberian dash on the previous evening, when he received a phone call from Racing Engineering GP2 boss Alfonso de Orleans Borbon offering him the seat vacated by the injured Christian Vietoris.
What followed was a crazy 24 hours. Firstly, Parente had to check that his McLaren commitments would allow him to get to Barcelona in time. Fortunately for him, plans for the car to be raced at Navarra had been cancelled some time ago, so his weekend was indeed free.
But it still wasn't straightforward. Parente didn't leave the McLaren test until 1pm, and at 8pm Racing Engineering was busy sorting out collecting him from the airport. While the other teams were just finishing off dinner at the track, the Spanish squad was preparing for a long night.
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