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DATE News (chronologically)
03/04/10
gp3
ART tops inaugural GP3 test
Gutierrez fastest overall
After months of anticipation the GP3 Series was off to a flying start in Le Castellet on Thursday with all 30 GP3 cars taking to the track in the morning session of the first official test in the history of the series.

Stormy conditions the day before the test thankfully cleared overnight and the young drivers were left with a dry, almost sunny morning in the South of France, albeit with very low temperatures. Driving on a 3D configuration layout, first to take to the track were Buzaid and Chilton from Carlin, but they were quickly followed by the remainder of the field.

After the first ever successful installation laps were completed by all ten teams, the session was paused for one hour in order for mechanics and engineers to closely analyze initial technical data from their new machinery.

When the session was given the green light again, the times improved consistently throughout the remainder of the morning, with times dropping drastically during the last thirty minutes. Five drivers seemed more eager to top the timing sheet: Alexander Rossi driving for ART, Max Chilton for Carlin, Michael Christensen for MW Arden, Renger Van der Zander for RSC Mucke Motorsport and Kazimieras Vasiliauskas for Tech 1 Racing who kept on swapping positions.

It was Rossi who eventually won the title of quickest man on track for the morning, finishing two hundredths ahead of Chilton, posting a time of 1:22.188 and completing 20 laps

During the afternoon session lap times continued to drop, and the impressive reliability of the cars was also apparent with 1324 laps completed throughout the day, covering an impressive distance of over 5000 km.

Ending the session on top was ART s Esteban Gutiérrez posting a time of 1:20.949, over one second quicker than the fastest driver in the morning session. Michael Christensen at MW Arden and Pablo Sanchez Lopez at Addax Team completed the top three. A total of eleven drivers posted a quicker lap time than this morning s ART s Rossi s best effort.

“Today was exciting because just looking at the car for a month without driving it was frustrating for me!” said Gutiérrez. “Getting to know the car was our main goal of the day, and in the end it was also a good result for us. It is only the first day so we have to keep working. I had a good feeling with the car, and really enjoyed the high downforce: it is good for training for GP2. The feeling is also similar with paddle shifts. It is a really enjoyable car to drive.”

Afternoon results

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Esteban Gutierrez Art Grand Prix 1:20.949 46
2. Michael Christensen MW Arden 1:20.986 38
3. Pablo Sanchez Lopez Addax Team 1:21.283 30
4. Kazimieras Vasiliauskas Tech 1 Racing 1:21.402 48
5. Robert Wickens Status GP 1:21.644 23
6. Max Chilton Carlin 1:21.761 7
7. Alexander Rossi Art Grand Prix 1:21.818 16
8. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:21.868 28
9. Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport 1:21.994 28
10. Luca Foresti Carlin 1:22.021 41
11. Renger Van der Zande RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:22.163 27
12. Nico Muller Jenzer Motorsport 1:22.188 43
13. Mirko Bortolotti Addax Team 1:22.240 37
14. Rio Haryanto Manor Racing 1:22.259 19
15. Dean Stoneman Tech 1 Racing 1:22.357 14
16. Leonardo Cordeiro MW Arden 1:22.377 35
17. Alexander Simms Atech CRS GP 1:22.542 37
18. Luiz Razia Manor Racing 1:22.645 8
19. James Jakes Manor Racing 1:22.653 15
20 Tobias Hegewald RSC Mucke Motorsport 1:22.719 21
21. Simon Trummer Jenzer Motorsport 1:23.395 26
22. Viktor Jensen Atech CRS GP 1:23.585 28
23. Olivier Oakes Addax Team 1:24.425 13
24. Daniel Morad Status GP 1:24.555 9
25. Ivan Lukashevich Status GP 1:25.594 35
26. Vittorio Ghirelli Atech CRS GP 1:25.715 27
27. Adriano BUZAID Carlin 1:28.317 7
28. Pedro Nunes Art Grand Prix -- 3
29. Miki Monras MW Arden -- 2

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