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Christiansen tops final GP3 test session
The checkered flag has dropped on the final pre-season test at Barcelona, and in a last minute push MW Arden has snatched the top spot from ART Grand Prix.

So far the test at Circuit de Catalunya has been dominated by ART’s Esteban Gutierrez, but the final session threw up a few changes at the top. Danish driver Michael Christensen posted the quickest time of the afternoon 1:37.716 for MW Arden, just five hundredths of a second ahead of second place man Gutierrez. Continuing his strong running this week was Renger van der Zande in third spot for RSC Mucke Motorsport with a time of 1:37.913, and snapping at his heels, just one tenths behind, was Carlin driver Dean Smith. Fifth was the second MW Arden car of Miki Monras just 0.008 of a second behind Smith with a time of 1:37.926.

Eight different teams covered the top ten places, with Status GP’s Daniel Morad finishing sixth, followed by Pal Varhaug for Jenzer Motorsport. Morad’s teammate Robert Wickens claimed eight spot just ahead of Manor driver James Jakes. Rounding out the top ten was Ollie Oakes who put in a stellar performance to take Atech CRS GP’s first top ten finish.

During this afternoons session the teams covered 1161 laps, bringing the grand total for two days to 3407 laps over 15,860 kilometers.

Julian Rouse, Team Manager MW Arden: “It’s obviously really positive for us to finish the last test so competitively, especially as the first event is back here so shortly. ART have been so competitive, so it feels good to finally go quicker than them at a circuit on the GP3 calendar.”

Trevor Carlin, Team Principal Carlin: “I’m very happy with the testing we have completed this spring. We’ve have three new eager drivers in the team who have done plenty of mileage to get to grips with the car, and have been steadily improving lap by lap. Although Dean Smith has been setting the bench mark for the other drivers in Barcelona, everyone is progressing, and we now have a good bank of data to compare.

“As a team we still have a lot to learn to get the best out of the cars, but we are finding them responsive to change and easy for the teams and drivers to work with. Barcelona in three weeks time is going to be very exciting to watch.”

Peter Muecke, Team Principal RSC Mucke Motorsport: “Over the last three GP3 tests in Paul Ricard and Barcelona we have been working to a meticulous testing program, and have been able to define a good basic setup which works well for our drivers. It is very positive to have a brand new car with such few problems. The GP3 organizers and suppliers have done a brilliant job in the season lead up to give teams such a good car, and solve any teething problems in a short time.

“All of the GP3 teams are well prepared for the first event, and we think that it is going to be a close competition between teams and drivers which will give everybody exciting races. There is still some work to do, but we will be ready!”   

Simon Cayzer, Team Manager Status Grand Prix: "It's never easy to get on top of a brand new car, and the first test days we worked heavily on reliability. Then during the second half of the last Paul Ricard test and here at Barcelona we've worked on performance, and found big areas of improvement.

“ART Grand Prix look strong in all track conditions, but drivers and teams have been testing with different fuel levels and set-ups, so it's not until qualifying at the Spanish GP that we will truly all know where we stand. What's a clear factor, though, is that there are 30 very equal and competitive cars out there, and there will be multiple stoppages in sessions - there's a going to be a great skill in finding a clear lap to set a time, and the fact that some front-runners will sometimes be unlucky is going to mix up the grids and make the racing even more exciting."

GP3 will be back on track in Barcelona for the opening round of the Series on May 08th – 09th.

Afternoon session complete results:

Pos Car # Name Team Best Laps
1 20 Michael Christensen MW ARDEN 1:37.716 44
2 2 Esteban Gutierrez ART GRAND PRIX 1:37.769 44
3 11 Renger Van Der Zande RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 1:37.913 37
4 15 Dean Smith CARLIN 1:37.918 36
5 21 Miki Monras MW ARDEN 1:37.926 30
6 6 Daniel Morad STATUS GRAND PRIX 1:37.969 37
7 23 Pal Varhaug JENZER MOTORSPORT 1:38.024 38
8 4 Robert Wickens STATUS GRAND PRIX 1:38.073 26
9 7 James Jakes MANOR RACING 1:38.327 30
10 30 Ollie Oakes ATECH CRS GP 1:38.336 34
11 25 Nico Muller JENZER MOTORSPORT 1:38.357 50
12 1 Alexander Rossi ART GRAND PRIX 1:38.376 44
13 14 Josef Newgarden CARLIN 1:38.399 41
14 24 Simon Trummer JENZER MOTORSPORT 1:38.451 39
15 8 Rio Haryanto MANOR RACING 1:38.479 42
16 18 Pablo Sanchez Lopez ADDAX TEAM 1:38.480 39
17 17 Felipe Guimaraes ADDAX TEAM 1:38.527 43
18 12 Tobias Hegewald RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 1:38.549 41
19 10 Nigel Melker RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 1:38.701 21
20 19 Mirko Bortolotti ADDAX TEAM 1:38.702 44
21 27 Stefano Colleti TECH 1 RACING 1:38.703 27
22 16 Lucas Foresti CARLIN 1:38.762 47
23 3 Pedro Nunes ART GRAND PRIX 1:39.051 46
24 31 Marko Asmer ATECH CRS GP 1:39.052 19
25 22 Leonardo Cordeiro MW ARDEN 1:39.186 43
26 28 Fabio Onidi TECH 1 RACING 1:39.197 37
27 29 Patrick Reiterer ATECH CRS GP 1:39.273 33
28 9 Jordan Oakes MANOR RACING 1:39.350 21
29 26 Doru Sechelariu TECH 1 RACING 1:39.637 33
30 5 Ivan Lukashevich STATUS GRAND PRIX 1:39.953 41

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