GP3 Series Media

RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker was the fastest man out on track at Circuit de Catalunya today, after setting the best time of 1:37.882 on the final day of 2011 official GP3 Series testing.

Once again the teams had to contend with low temperatures at the Spanish circuit. When the lights turned green and the pitlane opened, the drivers all fed out onto the track for their initial installation laps in the cool conditions. Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Müller briefly held on to the top spot before Lotus ART’s Valtteri Bottas continued his good form and knocked the Swiss into second, with James Calado soon following suit.

Just before the thirty minute marker, the teams began switching to fresh rubber and the times started to drop consistently. Alexander Sims was first to get to grips and post a quick time which was swiftly beaten by his Status Grand Prix teammate Antonio Felix Da Costa. RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Michael Christensen slipped into third ahead of Tech 1 Racing’s rookie Andrea Caldarelli, Bottas and Calado. During the next hour, Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Da Costa and Sims all took turns at the top until RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker clocked a laptime quick enough to put him ahead of the field. The Dutch driver’s time went unbeaten for the remainder of the session. Sims finished second fastest ahead of Müller, MW Arden’s Mitch Evans and Quaife-Hobbs.     

Despite a threat of rain over the lunch break, the afternoon stayed dry and bright for the final pre-season test session of 2011. For the first half of the session, it was Valtteri Bottas heading up the field with a 1:39.773 lap until midway through the afternoon when Melker edged ahead of the field once more. As usual, the Spanish track was slower in the afternoon than the morning, giving drivers another opportunity to concentrate on race simulations and setups. The teams were also able to evaluate the tyre degradation and see how it will play a role in the upcoming season.

The final hour of the day saw Quaife-Hobbs take over at the top of the time sheet with a 1:38.625 lap, and with the rest of the field unable to match his pace, the British driver’s time went unbeaten. A red flag two minutes from the end of the session ended proceedings prematurely, and the chequered flag was shown for the final time in GP3 2011 pre-season testing. Müller finished in second spot ahead of Marussia Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto, Bottas and Christensen. 

The GP3 teams will be back on track in three weeks time for Round 1 of the 2011 season in Istanbul, Turkey.

Morning session times:

POS #  DRIVER  TEAM LAP  TIME  GAP LAPS
1 31 Nigel MELKER RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 13 1:37.882 33
2 4 Alexander SIMS STATUS GRAND PRIX 18 1:38.190 +0.308 42
3 7 Nico MULLER JENZER MOTORSPORT 18 1:38.251 +0.369 40
4 26 Mitch EVANS MW ARDEN 21 1:38.297 +0.415 32
5 10 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS MARUSSIA MANOR 19 1:38.299 +0.417 45
6 20 Marlon STOCKINGER ATECH CRS GP 18 1:38.312 +0.430 24
7 5 Antonio Felix DA COSTA STATUS GRAND PRIX 15 1:38.321 +0.439 41
8 18 Andrea CALDARELLI TECH 1 RACING 18 1:38.381 +0.499 35
9 17 Aaro VAINIO TECH 1 RACING 17 1:38.394 +0.512 37
10 3 James CALADO LOTUS ART 18 1:38.422 +0.540 51
11 11 Rio HARYANTO MARUSSIA MANOR 12 1:38.464 +0.582 39
12 2 Valtteri BOTTAS LOTUS ART 17 1:38.483 +0.601 54
13 30 Michael CHRISTENSEN RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 11 1:38.496 +0.614 46
14 24 Gabby CHAVES ADDAX TEAM 13 1:38.549 +0.667 41
15 12 Matias LAINE MARUSSIA MANOR 18 1:38.583 +0.701 28
16 28 Lewis WILLIAMSON MW ARDEN 14 1:38.593 +0.711 32
17 27 Simon TRUMMER MW ARDEN 16 1:38.734 +0.852 35
18 15 Tom DILLMANN CARLIN 11 1:38.834 +0.952 35
19 19 Tamas PAL KISS TECH 1 RACING 12 1:38.847 +0.965 29
20 6 Ivan LUKASHEVICH STATUS GRAND PRIX 12 1:38.941 1,059 43
21 1 Pedro NUNES LOTUS ART 18 1:39.021 1,139 44
22 21 Nick YELLOLY ATECH CRS GP 18 1:39.036 1,154 28
23 8 Maxim ZIMIN JENZER MOTORSPORT 12 1:39.093 1,211 31
24 25 Daniel MORAD ADDAX TEAM 18 1:39.112 1,230 31
25 29 Willi STEINDL RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 16 1:39.147 1,265 40
26 9 Vittorio GHIRELLI JENZER MOTORSPORT 16 1:39.175 1,293 28
27 16 Leonardo CORDEIRO CARLIN 12 1:39.274 1,392 36
28 14 Conor DALY CARLIN 15 1:39.425 1,543 55
29 22 Zoel AMBERG ATECH CRS GP 12 1:39.573 1,691 20
30 23 Thomas HYLKEMA ADDAX TEAM 21 1:40.107 2,225 48

Afternoon session times: 

POS # DRIVER TEAM LAP  TIME GAP LAPS
1 10 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS MARUSSIA MANOR 22 1:38.625 27  
2 7 Nico MULLER JENZER MOTORSPORT 33 1:38.780 +0.155 40
3 11 Rio HARYANTO MARUSSIA MANOR 25 1:38.891 +0.266 35
4 2 Valtteri BOTTAS LOTUS ART 16 1:38.916 +0.291 31
5 30 Michael CHRISTENSEN RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 25 1:39.020 +0.395 29
6 26 Mitch EVANS MW ARDEN 19 1:39.060 +0.435 25
7 31 Nigel MELKER RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 14 1:39.119 +0.494 20
8 5 Antonio Felix DA COSTA STATUS GRAND PRIX 37 1:39.146 +0.521 39
9 18 Andrea CALDARELLI TECH 1 RACING 27 1:39.241 +0.616 34
10 20 Marlon STOCKINGER ATECH CRS GP 34 1:39.253 +0.628 40
11 27 Simon TRUMMER MW ARDEN 30 1:39.318 +0.693 35
12 1 Pedro NUNES LOTUS ART 18 1:39.444 +0.819 35
13 14 Conor DALY CARLIN 30 1:39.445 +0.820 37
14 12 Matias LAINE MARUSSIA MANOR 21 1:39.480 +0.855 28
15 9 Vittorio GHIRELLI JENZER MOTORSPORT 26 1:39.510 +0.885 39
16 6 Ivan LUKASHEVICH STATUS GRAND PRIX 15 1:39.532 +0.907 35
17 17 Aaro VAINIO TECH 1 RACING 24 1:39.668 1,043 34
18 8 Maxim ZIMIN JENZER MOTORSPORT 28 1:39.680 1,055 33
19 15 Tom DILLMANN CARLIN 31 1:39.712 1,087 34
20 25 Daniel MORAD ADDAX TEAM 23 1:39.771 1,146 26
21 16 Leonardo CORDEIRO CARLIN 24 1:39.817 1,192 31
22 28 Lewis WILLIAMSON MW ARDEN 3 1:39.838 1,213 19
23 19 Tamas PAL KISS TECH 1 RACING 27 1:39.868 1,243 38
24 21 Nick YELLOLY ATECH CRS GP 36 1:40.226 1,601 40
25 23 Thomas HYLKEMA ADDAX TEAM 32 1:40.281 1,656 32
26 29 Willi STEINDL RSC MUCKE MOTORSPORT 17 1:40.294 1,669 30
27 24 Gabby CHAVES ADDAX TEAM 4 1:41.110 2,485 24
28 22 Zoel AMBERG ATECH CRS GP 3 1:42.390 3,765 10
  4 Alexander SIMS STATUS GRAND PRIX 29 1:38.628   48
  3 James CALADO LOTUS ART 23 1:39.461   45