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GP3

Lewis Williamson GP3 2013

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.

Motorsports Mondial

Faces Going Places

Photo: Tom Blomqvist

Tom Blomqvist. Quick & Confident

Tom Blomqvist burst upon the racing scene last year taking the title in the very competitive Michelin Formula Renault UK series. The 16-year old son of Stig, of Audi Quattro and world rally championship fame, grew up racing karts in New Zealand.

Call him the next Super Swede or Quick Kiwi, one thing is for sure, we will be seeing his name in the top tier of results frequently. F1weekly would like to thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish him all the best in his racing career.

Q: Congratulations on winning the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship. What were your expectations before the season started?

A: Thank you. I had high expectations coming into the championship after some strong winter testing times and the way the pre-season testing went. My main ambition was to win the championship.

Q: Three wins and 12 podiums, what was the most memorable race?

A: To be honest my most memorable race was probably the first race of the season at Thruxton. It was raining and I was starting second. I had a collision on the first lap and I was in last place. I managed to work my way up to 5th place by the end of the race. It was definitely my most exciting race. I don’t think I passed that many cars for the rest of the season combined.


Photo: Tom Blomqvist

Q: You took the championship lead in the penultimate round at Silverstone; was there a moment during the season where you had given up the title hunt to play safe and finish in the top three?

A: I had never given up the championship hunt but there was a stage where we were considering another year in Formula Renault UK. But I continued to work hard and so did the team and in the end we got the result we deserved.

Q: Before the Brands Hatch season finale you and Lewis Williamson were tied on points; did you experience extra butterflies before and during the race?

A: Before the weekend I was quite confident but not over confident as I knew Lewis was quick around Brands and the Manor car worked well there. I was confident I could out-qualify him though and around that track it is near impossible to pass. Fortunately for me I put it on the front row for both races but I certainly felt a little bit more tension before the final race. That was only going to be normal for a championship decider.

Q: How much did you develop as a racing driver by working with Fortec team, a very successful operation headed by ex-F3 driver Richard Dutton?

A: It was a tough year as we were probably on the back foot at the start of the season. I had to fight and push extra hard and that definitely helped when it came down to a head to head fight at the final round of the season. I learnt a lot last year and I will continue to learn and try to develop into a top driver.

Q: You have raced in Sweden and New Zealand how is the level of competition in these places compared to jolly olde England?

A: I’ve never actually raced cars in New Zealand only karts, but racing in England is different there are a lot more good drivers who can be quick and win whereas in Sweden and New Zealand there is only a select few.

Q: You raced at Macau last year in Formula BMW Pacific and placed an impressive third; how was that deal with Euro International put together, and your impression of the Guia circuit?

A: Well really the whole idea of competing in that race was to learn the circuit for the coming season in Formula 3. That track was pretty wicked, I have never seen anything like it and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I can’t wait to get back out there in a Formula 3 car.


Photo: www.bringatrailer.com

Q: Papa “Stig” was very successful in rallying, why did you choose single-seater racing as a career move?

A: It just felt like the natural step for me after having a career in karts. I never had the desire to be a rally driver like my father and although I have had a go in one I don’t think I will step away from the race track any day soon.

Q: What is the best motorsports advice you have received from your dad?

A: He’s quite a chilled out guy and doesn’t say a lot. Although he is always willing to help he doesn’t bother me too much and lets me get on with myself. I’m always open to his suggestions and advice.

Q: How much is he involved in guiding and managing your career at this stage?

A: He plays a background role. He’s involved but he’s not involved in the day to day running of my career. He has a lot of contacts in the sport so he still plays an important role and I’m extremely appreciative of that.

Q: How long were you in karting and what were the highlights of your karting career?

A: I raced karts for six years, my first meeting was at the end of 2002 and I stopped prior to moving up to Europe in 2009. My highlights were in my JICA days and I managed to win a few titles during the season.

Q: In winter months you are planning to do some driving on frozen lakes in Sweden how is this coming along and what can you learn from this which can be applied to single-seater racing?

A: I love skidding around on the ice, its great fun and a good tool to develop car control. Driving on ice is completely different to driving on a race track in a single-seater. But that single-seater is not glued to the track and it does move around and you have to be able to control that to be confident and quick. Practicing car control can only help me to develop more.

Q: Are you are stepping into British Formula 3 this season; how much change will there be in your physical training.

A: I’ll be stepping into Formula 3, I can’t tell you exactly which championship yet. I have had to alter my training a little. The car is more physical to drive than a Formula Renault especially on the neck and arms which has been my focus over the break. I want to be most prepared so that I can focus entirely on driving the car.

Q: Do you follow American racing series like Indy Cars or NASCAR?

A: I follow Indy car and NASCAR but I don’t watch every race as I didn’t get it on the channels I had at home last year, but I always read the write ups in the weekly Autosport. My goal is Formula 1 but I have definitely considered racing in the States.

Q: Please tell us about Tom Blomqvist away from racing; your interest in music, food and what other sports you enjoy apart from racing?

A: I’m quite chilled to be honest but I certainly love my music and food. I’m a big fan of Italian; I think every race driver loves Italian food to be fair. I love my training and I always make time for it as I know how important it is to be physically strong enough to drive and it’s only going to get harder as I move up the ladder. I love getting out on my road bike; generally the weather is perfect for it down here in New Zealand over summer.

For more information on this rising star please visit www.tomblomqvist.com

— Nasir Hameed

Racing and rallying regards.

F1weekly podcast # 464

Photo: Stilon

Podcast number 464

Robert Kubica is he the best driver on the grid?

Hartley on top in FR 3.5 test at Barcelona.

Lewis Williamson tops GP3 test at Estoril.

Russia to host Formula 1 GP in 2014

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/10-14-10f1weekly464.mp3]