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Tio Ellinas quickest in Jerez

Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas tops Day 1 of post season testing at Circuito De Jerez for Marussia Manor Racing

The final 2011 GP3 Series™ post season test kicked off today at Circuito De Jerez in sunny but cool morning conditions. Familiar faces in the paddock included Daniel Abt who was last week’s quickest man in Valencia, and American Conor Daly who joined the German at Lotus ART. Italian Formula Arbath Champion Patric Niederhauser was back after an impressive first test last week with Jenzer Motorsport. GP3 regulars Matias Laine and Marlon Stockinger also returned to the field. New faces included David Fumanelli, who impressed on his first day of testing with MW Arden.

Alex Fontana was first to top the time sheet for Tech 1 Racing this morning, until Daly moved ahead on his Lotus ART debut. Thirty minutes into the session, 2011 third place driver Nigel Melker, working with new team Trident, broke the 1:35 barrier putting him P1 ahead of rookies Abt and Fumanelli. Fontana then reclaimed the top spot, but it was short lived as Ellinas found extra pace. The Cypriot driver moved to the top of the time sheet just one hour into the session and with the rest of the field unable to match his fastest time, he held onto the spot for the remainder of the session. Fuminelli was just 0.050 seconds behind in second followed by Laine, Maxim Zimin and Fontana.

With just a few cars out on track at the start of the afternoon session, Facu Regalia was top for Lotus ART followed by Abt and Daly. Abt then moved ahead of his teammate into P1 and except from a brief spell at the top for Kristian Lindbom, took control of the session until the final twenty minutes. First to improve on the German’s time was Argentinean Regalia who was closely followed by Laine in P2. Ellinas then moved ahead and the Manor driver looked set to dominate the times on Day 1, but with just minutes remaining Fumanelli grabbed the top spot. Ellinas had to settle for second spot ahead of Regalia, Laine and Blomqvist.