PREMA Racing’s driver quickest in morning session
Red Bull protégé Pierre Gasly concluded this week’s pre-season testing on top of the timesheets: he lapped the Spanish track in an impressive laptime of 1:27.386 during this morning’s session ahead of Norman Nato and Antonio Giovinazzi. Rapax driver Gustav Malja was quickest in the afternoon session.
Day 3 opened this morning under blue skies with cold temperatures. When the pitlane turned green, Status Grand Prix’s Meindert van Buuren was the first man to feed onto the track on Hard Pirelli tyres. In the opening stages, Danïel de Jong set the early pace in a 1:30.121 but Nicholas Latifi was the first man to dip under 1m30s to take the top honours.
Forty minutes into the session, Sergey Sirotkin improved on the Canadian’s time to go P1. However, Nato topped the timesheet with a laptime of 1:28.170 – +0.070s ahead of Russian Sirotkin. After one hour, DAMS’ Alex Lynn broke the 1m28s barrier on Soft Pirelli tyres and lapped the Spanish track in a 1:27.841.
Just before mid-session, there was a short red flag period courtesy of Sirtokin who span into the gravel bed at the end of the main straight. At the restart, Gasly improved on his personal best set yesterday and clocked in a laptime of 1:27.386, also on Soft tyres. Nato reduced the gap enough to edge Giovinazzi out of P2 – two tenth slower than Gasly.
Soon after, Giovinazzi caused a second red flag period after he stopped at the entrance of Turn 4. The remainder of the session was trouble-free and Gasly remained unchallenged until the chequered flag. Behind the Frenchman, Nato, Giovinazzi, Lynn, Luca Ghiotto, De Jong, Mitch Evans, Latifi, Jordan King and Sirotkin rounded out the top ten.
In the afternoon, Raffaele Marciello was first out on track. Arthur Pic set the early pace in a 1:29.941 on Prime tyres. One hour into the session, the proceedings were halted for a third time following small contact between Marciello and Rene Binder.
The final hours of testing were studious with drivers completing long runs and teams working on pit stop practice. In the closing stages, Markelov went quickest in a 1:29.425 ahead of Pic. Fifteen minutes before the end of the session, van Buuren stopped at Turn 12 causing one last red flag period. In the dying minutes, Malja put his head down to clock in a laptime of 1:28.719, which was enough to go top. Fellow countryman Jimmy Eriksson also found some extra pace to edge Markelov out of P2.
At the chequered flag, behind the Swedish pair of Malja and Eriksson, Markelov, Oliver Rowland, Sergio Canamasas, Pic, van Buuren, Nabil Jeffri, Lynn and Binder completed the top ten.
This concludes the first 2016 pre-season test session at Barcelona. Next stop will be Jerez de la Frontera on March 29-30-31.
Morning results
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Pierre Gasly
PREMA Racing
1:27.386
41
2.
Norman Nato
Racing Engineering
1:27.630
29
3.
Antonio Giovinazzi
PREMA Racing
1:27.755
33
4.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:27.841
22
5.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:27.884
39
6.
Danïel de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:27.977
25
7.
Mitch Evans
Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing
1:28.022
30
8.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:28.067
26
9.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:28.122
32
10.
Sergey Sirotkin
ART Grand Prix
1:28.122
20
11.
Arthur Pic
Rapax
1:28.150
34
12.
Rene Binder
Carlin
1:28.240
19
13.
Raffaele Marciello
RUSSIAN TIME
1:28.296
35
14.
Gustav Malja
Carlin
1:28.335
35
15.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:28.421
33
16.
Sergio Canamasas
Status Grand Prix
1:28.491
35
17.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:28.599
12
18.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
Carlin
1:28.744
39
19.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:28.871
32
20.
Jimmy Eriksson
Arden International
1:29.433
32
21.
Philo Paz Armand
Trident
1:29.450
39
22.
Nabil Jeffri
Arden International
1:29.662
39
23.
Sean Gelael
Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing
1:29.755
39
24.
Meindert van Buuren
Status Grand Prix
1:30.007
29
 
Afternoon results
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:28.719
40
2.
Jimmy Eriksson
Arden International
1:29.263
31
3.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:29.425
19
4.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:29.474
34
5.
Sergio Canamasas
Status Grand Prix
1:29.586
34
6.
Arthur Pic
Rapax
1:29.678
30
7.
Meindert van Buuren
Status Grand Prix
1:30.555
25
8.
Nabil Jeffri
Arden International
1:31.845
32
9.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:32.723
50
10.
Rene Binder
Carlin
1:32.779
45
11.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:32.836
33
12.
Pierre Gasly
PREMA Racing
1:33.062
49
13.
Danïel de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:33.249
40
14.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
Carlin
1:33.317
40
15.
Sergey Sirotkin
ART Grand Prix
1:33.534
55
16.
Mitch Evans
Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing
1:33.596
43
17.
Sean Gelael
Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing
1:33.616
47
18.
Antonio Giovinazzi
PREMA Racing
1:33.669
48
19.
Philo Paz Armand
Trident
1:33.695
41
20.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:33.883
44
21.
Norman Nato
Racing Engineering
1:33.968
39
22.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:34.247
51
23.
Raffaele Marciello
RUSSIAN TIME
1:34.296
19
24.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:34.331
44