Niederhauser on top as Barcelona GP3 test ends

Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser set a blistering lap time of 1:33.750 which was an impressive 4.2 seconds faster than the best GP3 lap set at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2012. It was another trouble-free test session in Barcelona with the second generation car as the full grid of 27 drivers fought with the mixed weather conditions. Aaro Vainio was quickest in the afternoon for Koiranen GP.

Melville McKee replaced Lewis Williamson at Bamboo Engineering which was the only change to the line-up for day two. The first hour of the test was frenetic as the drivers fed onto the track eager to make the most of dry running before the expected rain fell. Jenzer Motorsport made it a one-two with Niederhauser and Alex Fontana topping the timesheets early on with drivers unable to improve as the heavens opened.

Jack Harvey stopped on track in his ART Grand Prix car with technical gremlins whilst Nick Cassidy (Marussia Manor Racing) clipped the barrier which caused brief red flags. Carmen Jorda (Bamboo Engineering) and Emanuele Zonzini (Trident) spun off into the gravel trap as the rain pounded down which caused two short interruptions at the close of the morning session.

Niederhauser’s quickest time was almost half a second faster than his teammate Fontana with Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing), Cassidy, Giovanni Venturini (Trident), Daniil Kvyat (MW Arden), Harvey, Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix), Dino Zamparelli (Marussia Manor Racing) and Conor Daly (ART Grand Prix) rounding out the top ten at the checkered flag.

Heavy rain hammered down and the temperature dropped as the afternoon session got underway as the drivers wrestled with the wet conditions. There were a number of red flags in the afternoon session which included Josh Webster, Regalia, Samin Gomez, Zonzini, McKee and Daly who had minor offs as the treacherous weather continued to cause drivers a headache. Daly held top spot in the standings with the Koiranen GP duo of Kevin Korjus and Aaro Vainio second and third as the drivers concentrated on wet weather set-up.

Carlos Sainz Jnr (MW Arden) went into the tire barrier at turn three which had been problematic for a number of drivers, thus causing significant damage to his car which brought the red flag out. In the final part of the session Vainio shot to P1 with Harvey into P2. Harvey ran off track at the end of the session which meant the session ended under red flag conditions. Therefore Vainio remained at the head of the timings in front of Harvey, Daly, Korjus, Eric Lichtenstein, Regalia, Venturini, Jimmy Eriksson (Status Grand Prix), Nick Yelloly (Carlin) and Zamparelli.

Patric Niederhauser commented: “I have so much fun driving the second generation car, it’s very challenging. The speed differential between the GP3/13 and GP3/10 car is immense and I feel there are still improvements to come within the car set-up as this is only the second test. Driver skill is really tested as you have to adapt your driving style to suit the needs and the power of the machine. Fast corners are much trickier to control. Tire management is even more important this year and it’s the perfect preparation to learn and progress to GP2 and Formula 1."

The final official pre-season test takes place at Silverstone on 03-04 April before the first round gets underway in May at Barcelona.

Day 2: Morning

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport 1:33.750 19
2. Alex Fontana Jenzer Motorsport 1:34.176 24
3. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 1:34.209 27
4. Nick Cassidy Marussia Manor Racing 1:34.219 23
5. Giovanni Venturini Trident 1:34.411 21
6. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 1:34.441 32
7. Jack Harvey ART Grand Prix 1:34.491 19
8. Facu Regalia ART Grand Prix 1:34.519 29
9. Dino Zamparelli Marussia Manor Racing 1:34.520 30
10. Conor Daly ART Grand Prix 1:34.576 29
11. Carlos Sainz Jnr MW Arden 1:34.601 27
12. Nick Yelloly Carlin 1:34.668 25
13. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1:34.720 21
14. Kevin Korjus Koiranen GP 1:34.737 17
15. Jimmy Eriksson Status Grand Prix 1:34.738 16
16. Robert Visoiu MW Arden 1:34.738 25
17. Patrick Kujala Koiranen GP 1:34.844 20
18. Emanuele Zonzini Trident 1:34.976 19
19. Adderly Fong Status Grand Prix 1:35.159 13
20. Aaro Vainio Koiranen GP 1:35.328 15
21. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 1:35.447 27
22. Josh Webster Carlin 1:35.629 16
23. Samin Gomez Jenzer Motorsport 1:36.072 18
24. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin 1:36.209 28
25. Melville McKee Bamboo Engineering 1:36.336 27
26. Ryan Cullen Bamboo Engineering 1:37.128 22
27. Carmen Jorda Bamboo Engineering 1:38.378 21

Day 2: Afternoon

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Aaro Vainio Koiranen GP 1:54.509 22
2. Jack Harvey ART Grand Prix 1:56.109 16
3. Conor Daly ART Grand Prix 1:56.305 25
4. Kevin Korjus Koiranen GP 1:56.385 36
5. Eric Lichtenstein Carlin 1:57.161 23
6. Facu Regalia ART Grand Prix 1:57.234 21
7. Giovanni Venturini Trident 1:57.622 17
8. Jimmy Eriksson Status Grand Prix 1:57.843 28
9. Nick Yelloly Carlin 1:58.106 19
10. Dino Zamparelli Marussia Manor Racing 1:58.183 14
11. Adderly Fong Status Grand Prix 1:59.207 24
12. David Fumanelli Trident 1:59.252 18
13. Josh Webster Status Grand Prix 1:59.568 12
14. Emanuele Zonzini Trident 2:00.464 16
15. Patrick Kujala Koiranen GP 2:01.289 21
16. Ryan Cullen Bamboo Engineering 2:01.476 15
17. Carlos Sainz Jnr MW Arden 2:01.903 2
18. Luis Sa Silva Carlin 2:02.681 26
19. Melville McKee Bamboo Engineering 2:03.899 7
20. Nick Cassidy Marussia Manor Racing 2:07.770 5
21. Alex Fontana Jenzer Motorsport 2:22.905 5
22. Carmen Jorda Bamboo Engineering 7
23. Robert Visoiu MW Arden 9
24. Daniil Kvyat MW Arden 2
25. Samin Gomez Jenzer Motorsport 6
26. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport
27. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 3

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