Paul Ricard - As the afternoon session of the second official GP3 Series test concluded, ART Grand Prix continued to impress by topping the time sheets once again.
There were just two red flags all session, and the French team ART Grand Prix dominated throughout the afternoon with Esteban Gutierrez claiming the coveted top spot after posting a time of 1:20.707. The impressive reliability of the GP3 cars also continued with 1972 laps completed throughout the day, covering 7600 km.
Posting the second fastest time of the afternoon was Guttierez’s teammate and last month’s testing master Alexander Rossi posting a time of 1:20.719. Next up was RSC Mucke’s Nigel Melker, closely followed by teammate Tobias Hegewald. Michael Christensen at MW Arden completed the top five.
The cars will be back on track tomorrow at 9:00 am local time for a slightly shorter session than usual. The morning session will at 11.30 in order for teams to prepare for the qualifying shootout. The shootout will determine race number allocation for the season.
Classification will be decided by the fastest lap set out of the three drivers from each team, and should two or more drivers set identical times priority will be given to the driver who sets it first. The session will be 30 minutes long and will take place between 11:45-12:15 local time.
Esteban Gutierrez, ART Grand Prix: “We had a really great day today. This morning was more about trying different things with the car and seeing what works. Obviously it is good to be fastest but we have to remember that this is one track, and it is very different from all of the circuits on the calendar. It is more important to keep learning the car and moving forward.” Speaking about tomorrow’s qualifying Esteban said with a wry smile, “It is important, but it’s not all about the numbers... however, I would like to be number 1!”
Alexander Rossi, ART Grand Prix: “It’s not long now until Barcelona so we really went for it today. I was just 100th behind Esteban so it’s a great result for the team. It’s good to have a teammate that really pushes you. It’s intense but we have a good relationship and it will make for an interesting season.”
Nigel Melker, RSC Mucke Motorsport: “This Series is extremely competitive so I’m really happy to be in the top three. We took everything we learnt at the last test and applied it today. I learnt a lot more about the car and every time I drive I am more and more impressed by the amount of grip - last season I raced Formula Renault and the difference is incredible. Now we are starting to think about qualifying tomorrow, and although P1 will be hard I am going to push as hard as I can.”
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