MW Arden rookie Daniil Kvyat edges out Ellinas on day one…
Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat set the pace on day one after posting the quickest laptime overall with a 1:30.902. Marussia Manor Racing’s Tio Ellinas was fastest in the morning session and second in the afternoon, a tenth behind the MW Arden driver.
The final post-season test was hosted in glorious sunshine and warm temperatures at Circuito do Estoril, Portugal. As the drivers made their way onto the circuit to set installation laps, it was Lotus GP’s Alex Brundle who set the early benchmark an hour into the session. There was an early red flag after Mario Marasca (Trident Racing) spun at turn eight. Once the session resumed, Ellinas jumped to the top of the timesheets, a tenth quicker than Brundle and David Fumanelli (MW Arden), with Lewis Williamson (Atech CRS GP) close in pursuit.
A small spin for Miki Weckstrom (Status Grand Prix) and a technical issue for Eric Lichtenstein (Carlin) saw brief interruptions with the red flag, whilst Kvyat performed well as best rookie. The Russian driver continuously improved throughout the session and shot to P1 with thirty minutes left on the clock, two tenths quicker than the Cypriot.
Ellinas fought back to reclaim his place at the top of the standings by a mere 0.027s to close the morning session. Kvyat finished P2 ahead of Fumanelli, Brundle, Robert Visoiu (MW Arden), Williamson, Adderly Fong (Marussia Manor Racing) and Jack Harvey (Carlin).
As the heat rose in the afternoon following the two hour break, Brundle topped the times before Kvyat and Ellinas popped in quicker laps to lead proceedings. Alex Fontana spun his Jenzer Motorsport car, thus damaging the front wing which created a red flag at the midway point. With just over a hour remaining, Harvey clocked a lap 0.077s faster than Kvyat to snatch P1 as the times tumbled.
Williamson set a flier in the final 30 minutes to go half a second quicker than Harvey with Argentine Eric Lichtenstein shooting up to P2. Positions swapped every minute with the times improving on the morning session and it was Ellinas on a mission to take P1, his best efforts knocking Williamson off the top spot by just over a tenth of a second. The action wasn’t done with Kvyat eager to impress and with just over ten minutes remaining, he became the first driver to break into the 1.30’s barrier and displace Ellinas. At the chequered flag it finished as Kvyat, Ellinas, Williamson, Fumanelli, Visoiu, Harvey, Fong and Lichtenstein.
Tomorrow’s test session will run from 09.00 – 12.00 a one hour break. The afternoon session will run from 13.00 – 16.00.