MW Arden’s David Fumanelli ends Portuguese test on top
Italian David Fumanelli finished as fastest overall on day two in a rain affected test at Estoril, Portugal. The MW Arden driver’s best lap achieved in the morning was a 1:30.261 which set a new GP3 circuit record as he also went on to claim top spot in the wet afternoon session.
The final day of post-season testing was run in much different conditions compared to the warmth and sunshine of the first day of the tests. Dark skies and much cooler temperatures greeted the GP3 paddock with showers forecast. Daniil Kvyat who was fasted on day one set the early pace with fellow MW Arden driver David Fumanelli and Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing) in close contention. There were several early red flags after spins for Eric Lichtenstein (Carlin) and Mario Marasca (Trident Racing).
When the green lights re-appeared, Italian Fumanelli went P1, 0.091s ahead of his Russian teammate with Lewis Williamson (Atech CRS GP) and Robert Visoiu (MW Arden) completing the top five. With one hour remaining of the morning session, the rain that had been threatening, fell on the Circuito do Estoril with the field choosing to remain in the pits with the weather indecisive: falling in the middle of slicks and wet tyres. Therefore the morning session ended with Fumanelli topping the timesheets ahead of Kvyat, Ellinas, Williamson, Visoiu, Lichtenstein, Jack Harvey (Lotus GP) and Miki Weckstrom (Status Grand Prix).
The rain continued to pour down as the afternoon session began as the drivers ventured out onto wet tyres with many teams opting to run race simulations. There were red flags for Jack Harvey after his Lotus GP suffered technical gremlins and there was a spin for Meindert Van Buuren in the Atech CRS GP.
Kvyat was first to set a quick lap until Fumanelli outpaced the Russian to snatch P1. Ellinas split the MW Arden pair by going P2, with Giovanni Venturini (Status Grand Prix) and Williamson in the top five. It was to be Fumanelli’s day, the only driver breaking into the 1.42’s barrier in the tricky conditions when the chequered flag waved on the end of the final test. Ellinas, Kvyat, Venturini, Williamson, Lichtenstein, Marasca and Harvey rounded out the top eight.
GP3 will be back in action early next year when pre-season testing commences with the eagerly anticipated new GP3/13 car. The GP3 Series will enter its fourth year with drivers competing to follow in the footsteps of reigning GP3 Champion Mitch Evans.