ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer sets the early pace in Abu Dhabi
The gloves are off! German ace Marvin Kirchhöfer led the way in an exciting Free Practice session in Abu Dhabi. The fight for P1 was fierce – with Series leader Luca Ghiotto from Trident finishing second; one place ahead of his fellow title contender Esteban Ocon (ART Grand Prix).
The 24 drivers fed onto the Yas Marina Circuit for the final round of the 2015 GP3 Series season. There was one change to the line-up with Adderly Fong replacing Jann Mardenborough at Carlin. The start of the session saw an ART GP one-two with Kirchhöfer holding the advantage over Ocon, before Campos Racing’s Alex Palou flew to the top of the pile by just 0.001s.
Ocon soon found more pace to rise to P1; whilst Ghiotto was busy lighting sector one and two in purple – only to find traffic in the final sector costing him his chance to challenge the Frenchman. Once the Trident star found some clear air, he was first to lap in the 1m57’s before Carlin’s Antonio Fuoco and Mitch Gilbert headed the timesheet.
Ocon reclaimed P1 briefly until Kirchhöfer improved again. In the last ten minutes, positions throughout the field changed by the second, with the session feeling almost qualifying-esque. Ghiotto found himself back on top of the pack by a mere 0.011s but the action was not done yet.
Mercedes junior Ocon headed back to the top of the timings, but it was Kirchhöfer who set the first sector in purple to go quickest by two tenths. Ghiotto wasn’t finished and he went for one final blast, but the Italian ended up second fastest, one tenth shy of Kirchhöfer’s best lap.
At the chequered flag, behind the trio of Kirchhöfer, Ghiotto and Ocon: Matthew Parry, Kevin Ceccon, Jimmy Eriksson, Ralph Boschung, Fuoco, Pal Varhaug and Matheo Tuscher completed the top ten.
Qualifying takes place at 15:10 today with Ghiotto and Ocon desperate to take the vital four points on offer pole, but 22 other drivers will be doing their very best to stop them!
Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
ART Grand Prix
1:56.070
17
2.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:56.208
19
3.
Esteban Ocon
ART Grand Prix
1:56.312
17
4.
Matthew Parry
Koiranen GP
1:56.506
20
5.
Kevin Ceccon
Arden International
1:56.568
15
6.
Jimmy Eriksson
Koiranen GP
1:56.582
18
7.
Ralph Boschung
Jenzer Motorsport
1:56.705
17
8.
Antonio Fuoco
Carlin
1:56.895
19
9.
Pal Varhaug
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.020
18
10.
Matheo Tuscher
Jenzer Motorsport
1:57.184
18
11.
Alfonso Celis. Jr
ART Grand Prix
1:57.245
17
12.
Mitchell Gilbert
Carlin
1:57.259
19
13.
Michele Beretta
Trident
1:57.382
18
14.
Alex Fontana
Status Grand Prix
1:57.505
17
15.
Zaid Ashkanani
Campos Racing
1:57.679
18
16.
Sandy Stuvik
Status Grand Prix
1:57.679
16
17.
Adderly Fong
Carlin
1:57.747
19
18.
Artur Janosz
Trident
1:57.837
17
19.
Matevos Isaakyan
Koiranen GP
1:58.121
16
20.
Emil Bernstorff
Arden International
1:58.410
18
21.
Alex Palou
Campos Racing
1:58.620
19
22.
Seb Morris
Status Grand Prix
2:00.015
15
23.
Aleksander Bosak
Arden International
2:01.243
16
24.
Konstantin Tereshchenko
Campos Racing
2:04.429
6