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Gutiérrez ends Valencia test on top
ART Grand Prix’s Esteban Gutiérrez continued his good form and took the top spot again in the final session of the mid-season GP3 test at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. The Mexican driver and Status GP’s Robert Wickens have both proved to be hard to beat around the Spanish circuit and today’s session was no different. Gutierrez posted the quickest time of the afternoon 1:28.057, just 4 thousandths of a second ahead of Canadian Wickens.   

Except for a couple of red flags the session ran smoothly, and all ten teams were able to use the track time to continue fine tuning their cars and test new settings before the season continues next week at the Valencia Street Circuit.  Carlin’s Dean Smith posted the third fastest time of the afternoon with a time of 1:28.147 just ahead of Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Muller. Atech CRS GP had their best test result to date with both Oliver Oakes and Roberto Mehri in the top ten. Oakes finished fifth and new man Merhi improved on his morning session to finish sixth with a time of 1:28.329. Jenzer’s Simon Trummer joined his teammate in the top ten finishing in seventh followed by ART’s Alexander Rossi in eighth. Pablo Sanchez Lopez had a good afternoon session in his Addax car ending up in ninth spot, and Doru Sechelariu ended Tech 1 Racing’s impressive running taking the final top ten spot.      

Conditions continued to be dry and bright until the final twenty minutes of a session when the skies opened and a huge downpour followed. Only Addax Team were brave enough to take to the track, but soon returned to the pits before falling foul of the wet.    The impressive reliability of the GP3 Series cars has continued. During the afternoon session today teams covered 887 laps, bringing the grand total for two days to over 4000.   

Esteban Gutierrez, ART Grand Prix: “Yesterday we weren’t consistent and experienced a few problems, but still finished the day in a good position. Today we focused on new things to try for the coming races, but not just Valencia because it’s important for us to work on the season as a whole and especially as this was our last test session. Overall I’m happy with how things have gone.”

Robert Wickens, Status Grand Prix: “We weren’t as good today as yesterday, but I’m still happy with P2. I also didn’t get much time on my new tires as I made a small mistake. We stuck to our test plan over the two days and it’s a nice reward for the team to be up the top of the timings. I was disappointed that it rained at the end because we could have definitely gone quicker, but it was game over. All in all it was a good session, and we’ve never been out of the top five during a test which is very positive for the team.”

Dean Smith, Carlin: “The test has been going really well for us, although I got scuppered by the rain at the end. We managed to do a lot of testing and figure out which way to go for the next race. It’s frustrating when you know you can top the times, but as a driver you need to make the car your own which is what we are working on. I’m going in a simulator next week to learn the Valencia Street Circuit and then hopefully everything will come together and we can get P1.”
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