CONOR DALY ON TOP ON DAY ONE IN BARCA…
WILLIAMSON FASTEST ON THIRD DAY OF TEST IN ESTORIL –
Bamboo Engineering’s Lewis Williamson ends first pre-season GP3 Portuguese test on top
Two new teams finished quickest in both the morning and afternoon session with Kevin Korjus and his Finnish outfit for Koiranen GP fastest posting the fastest time in the first half of the day with Williamson finishing the final day on top.
Today concluded a positive and successful test with the new second generation car as the full grid of 27 drivers covered 3809 laps in total over the three days. There were two amendments to the driver line-up for the final day with Kiwi Nick Cassidy replacing Tio Ellinas at Marussia Manor Racing and Lewis Williamson back in the Bamboo Engineering car in place of Ryan Cullen.
The final day of the first pre-season test at the Circuito Estoril got underway in torrential rain. There was an early red flag due to a stray dog on track. When the action resumed, Koiranen GP’s Kevin Korjus and the MW Arden duo of Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat were the early pacesetters as they dealt with the large volume of spray due to climatic conditions.
There were brief interruptions with the red flag after Jack Harvey (ART Grand Prix) stopped on circuit and Patrick Kujala (Koiranen GP) spun into the gravel bed. At the midway point Estonian driver Korjus held P1 from Sainz by 0.069s. The rain continued to hammer day and it was Patric Niederhauser who was next to become victim of the slippery track, spinning into the gravel which brought the red flag out.
With five minutes left on the clock, Alex Fontana (Jenzer Motorsport) spun leading to a short halt in proceedings. Korjus headed the timesheets at the close of the morning session in front of Sainz Jr, Harvey, Kvyat, Fontana, Dino Zamparelli (Marussia Manor Racing), Aaro Vainio (Koiranen GP), Kujala, Conor Daly (ART Grand Prix) and Niederhauser.
Sunshine returned for the start of the afternoon test and Cassidy and Nick Yelloly led the pack after one hour. The conditions were not easy though with gusty winds for the drivers to contend with. Laptimes tumbled throughout the session once slicks were used and the midway point saw Korjus and Sainz Jr sat on top of the timesheets with laps in the 1.29s. Jimmy Eriksson spun as the rain began to fall again as the red flag was waved.
Race simulations were the focus for most teams with drivers also concentrating on their tyre management skills. Harvey shot to P1 with one hour remaining as Fontana stopped on the circuit with technical gremlins. Williamson clocked the fastest time as the session drew to a close with the red flag after Fumanelli stopped. At the chequered flag it was Williamson, Kvyat, Visoiu, Harvey, Zamparelli, Fumanelli, Fontana, Niederhauser, Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix), and Korjus.
Didier Perrin GP3 Series Technical Director commented, “This has been a fruitful and successful first outing for the teams and their GP3/13 cars. We have had very positive feedback from the drivers saying how fun and tricky this new machine is to drive. The teams are also very impressed by the reliability of the car as there were no major issues. All in all, everything is looking very promising. Now the focus from the teams can be on the performance of the car.”
The Circuit de Catalunya will host the next GP3 pre-season test which will run for two days on March 12-13th 2013.
VAINIO, KORJUS AND KUJALA COMPLETE KOIRANEN GP LINE-UP…
Aaro Vainio, Kevin Korjus and Patrick Kujala join Finnish outfit
Koiranen GP, the Finnish team based in Barcelona, will be competing in GP3 series for its first season in few months. Three drivers will be joining the team to contend the 2013 GP3 championship.
Kevin Korjus (Estonian), 20, will return to the team who carried him to the 2010 Eurocup title. He will move from WSR Formula Renault 3.5 after two impressive years.
Aaro Vainio (Finnish), 19, GP3 series 2012 Monaco winner will be back to the championship with Koiranen GP. Vainio was in the GP3 title hunt until the final race weekend last season and finished fourth overall in the Series.
Patrick Kujala (Finnish), 16, will be back on board with Koiranen GP and completing the GP3 series line-up. The team’s youngest driver steps directly from Formula Renault 2.0, competing in Eurocup and crowned 2012 ALPS Rookie champion.
Afa Heikkinen comments, “Entering GP3 series is a major challenge for us, but we are confident we can do the job. We have the right people and good drivers, I believe we can challenge front runners in the course of the season. However, we have no illusions, we know it won’t be easy.”
Pre-season testing for the upcoming year will begin on February 20th in Estoril, with the first round taking place in Barcelona in May.