Mitch Evans (MW Arden) Pre Season Test Silverstone

MW Arden’s Mitch Evans edges out teammate Matias Laine on day one of testing

The GP3 Series headed to Silverstone for the final two-day pre-season test before the season commences in Barcelona next month. There was one new face in the line-up for the test and that was British youngster Alice Powell making her maiden appearance in a GP3 car for Status Grand Prix, hoping to impress to land a drive for the upcoming season and become the third female driver of the 2012 season.

The test session began under heavy clouds and cool temperatures as the drivers made their way onto the track to make sure they gained some dry running time with rain predicted. It was Kotaro Sakurai for Status Grand Prix who headed the timesheets for the first 30 minutes before Carlin’s William Buller jumped to the top of the standings. After one hour, it was the duo of MW Arden drivers Matias Laine and David Fumanelli leading the way just before the first red flag of the day occurred when Powell spun at turn 13 getting to grips with her new machine.

Antonio Felix Da Costa then took control of the timings by the smallest of the margins, as the session was brought to a halt when Tamas Pal Kiss stopped on the circuit producing the second red flag of the morning. Felix Da Costa driver improved on his lap time with a 1’51.206, just 0.018s faster than Tio Ellinas and Evans as the drivers went into their final hour of the morning session before the break. Within the last twenty minutes, MW Arden’s Evans set a lap of 1’50.276 which was over half a second quicker than his nearest contenders Felix Da Costa and Ellinas. Buller, Alex Brundle, Marlon Stockinger, Robert Visoiu, Aaro Vainio, Laine and Kevin Ceccon completed the top ten. Evans best laptime was five tenths faster than the quickest time posted at the Silverstone test in 2011.

It was Conor Daly who set the early pace in the afternoon session and then Evans went P1 again. Ethan Ringel crashed after just two laps which caused a red flag and put an early end to his day. When the session resumed, Laine went top with a laptime of 1:50.292, four tenths faster than the New Zealander.

In the final hour of the test, the rain that had been threatening finally arrived, therefore preventing any drivers from improving on their earlier laptimes. Several drivers ventured out onto the slippery circuit for some vital wet running, the first for many drivers in a GP3 car for this season. Finnish driver Laine finished just two hundredths off the Evans’ fastest time of the day making it a successful day for MW Arden topping both timesheets. Daly finished P3 with Buller, Vainio, Ellinas, Visoiu, Daniel Abt, Brundle and Patric Niederhauser.

Morning session

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1:50.276

23

2. Antonio Felix Da Costa Carlin 1:50.854

26

3. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 1:50.942

26

4. William Buller Carlin 1:50.951

32

5. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1:51.097

26

6. Alex Brundle Carlin 1:51.119

38

7. Robert Visoiu Jenzer Motorsport 1:51.554

27

8. Aaro Vainio Lotus GP 1:51.656

24

9. Matias Laine MW Arden 1:51.672

26

10. Kevin Ceccon Ocean Racing Technology 1:51.970

26

11. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport 1:52.009

28

12. Daniel Abt Lotus GP 1:52.030

21

13. Conor Daly Lotus GP 1:52.099

28

14. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1:52.102

33

15. Kotaro Sakurai Status Grand Prix 1:52.979

39

16. Fabiano Machado Marussia Manor Racing 1:53.422

33

17. Dmitry Suranovich Marussia Manor Racing 1:53.478

33

18. Antonio Spavone Trident Racing 1:53.516

26

19. Tamas Pal Kiss Atech CRS GP 1:53.838

9

20. Vicky Piria Trident Racing 1:54.267

28

21. Ethan Ringel Atech CRS GP 1:54.386

24

22. Alice Powell Status Grand Prix 1:54.498

20

23. Robert Cregan Ocean Racing Technology 1:54.811

28

24. John Wartique Atech CRS GP 1:55.317

20

25. Carmen Jorda Ocean Racing Technology 1:57.389

27

Afternoon Session

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Matias Laine MW Arden 1:50.292

22

2. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1:50.647

24

3. Conor Daly Lotus GP 1:50.985

22

4. William Buller Carlin 1:51.445

22

5. Aaro Vainio Lotus GP 1:51.509

20

6. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 1:51.567

29

7. Robert Visoiu Jenzer Motorsport 1:51.650

26

8. Daniel Abt Lotus GP 1:51.660

24

9. Alex Brundle Carlin 1:51.675

21

10. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport 1:51.797

25

11. Kevin Ceccon Ocean Racing Technology 1:51.893

19

12. Antonio Felix Da Costa Carlin 1:51.906

25

13. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1:51.918

26

14. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1:52.043

16

15. Fabiano Machado Marussia Manor Racing 1:52.187

25

16. Tamas Pal Kiss Atech CRS GP 1:52.343

23

17. Antonio Spavone Trident Racing 1:52.707

22

18. Dmitry Suranovich Marussia Manor Racing 1:52.864

24

19. Robert Cregan Ocean Racing Technology 1:53.213

21

20. Alice Powell Status Grand Prix 1:53.263

22

21. Kotaro Sakurai Status Grand Prix 1:53.511

22

22. Vicky Piria Trident Racing 1:54.280

23

23. John Wartique Atech CRS GP 1:54.689

25

24. Carmen Jorda Ocean Racing Technology 1:55.669

20

25. Ethan Ringel Atech CRS GP 2:05.819

2