CONOR DALY ON TOP ON DAY ONE IN BARCA…
ART Grand Prix’s Conor Daly sets the pace on day one in Spain
The American Conor Daly recorded the quickest time of the day with a 1:34.578 which was 3.5 seconds faster than the best lap set in the GP3/10 car in 2012 as GP3 Series had another successful day with the second generation car with the full grid of 27 drivers continuing to learn in the new GP3 machine. Marussia Manor Racing’s Nick Cassidy topped the timesheets in the morning.
The Circuit de Catalunya hosted the second official pre-season test in damp conditions after rain had fallen overnight. After 20 minutes the drivers ventured onto the track on slicks and then the heavens opened with light rain. This was tricky for the drivers as it was too wet for slick Pirelli tyres but there was not enough water on track for use of wets, therefore Aaro Vainio (Koiranen GP), Daniil Kvyat (MW Arden), Samin Gomez (Jenzer Motorsport) and Carlos Sainz Jnr (MW Arden) were the only drivers to post a laptime. Kevin Korjus made it a Koiranen GP one-two after popping in the second fastest time, as the sunshine broke through and the track began to dry. There were two brief interruptions as David Fumanelli (Trident) stopped on circuit with technical gremlins.
Local favourite Sainz Jnr went top in the closing stages before Korjus reclaimed his position at the head of the standings. Soon after Cassidy set the best time of the morning in a 1:34.924.Korjus, Sainz Jnr, Alex Fontana (Jenzer Motorsport), Ellinas, Vainio, Lewis Williamson (Bamboo Engineering), Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport), Adderly Fong (Status Grand Prix) and Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix) completed the top ten at the chequered flag.
Following the two hour break, heavy clouds hung over the circuit threatening to downpour but the sun fought through. There were several stoppages in the afternoon session including Vainio spinning into the gravel and technical gremlins for Josh Webster (Status Grand Prix) Patrick Kujala (Koiranen GP), Giovanni Venturini (Trident) and Patric Niederhauser (Jenzer Motorsport).
ART Grand Prix teammates Regalia and Jack Harvey set the pace at the midway point of the session until Daniil Kvyat (MW Arden) shot to P1 with Nick Yelloly (Carlin) a mere 0.069s shy of the Russian. The final 30 minutes was like a qualifying session and was hotly contested as the drivers fed onto the track with new tyres.
Ellinas put in a flier with a 1:34.710 as the clock ticked down until American Conor Daly (ART Grand Prix) went a tenth quicker to finish the day fastest as Cassidy snuck into P3 as the chequered flag came out. Daly, Ellinas, Cassidy, Fontana, Yelloly, Regalia, Fumanelli, Kvyat, Sainz Jnr and Korjus rounded out the top ten.
Conor Daly (ART Grand Prix) commented: “We had a lot to figure out with the new GP3/13 car at the first test in Estoril and I believe now we have found a great set-up and a nice balance to achieve that one important hot lap. I am extremely happy and it was a nice surprise to be P1. I feel really positive about the second generation car, it’s much more fun to drive and certainly makes you question yourself before you add more power. I love having more speed!”
Tomorrow’s test session will run from 09.00 – 12.00 with a one hour break. The afternoon session will run from 13.00 – 16.00 CET.