Italian racer claims fastest time in afternoon session’s final five minutes
Campos Racing’s Leonardo Pulcini topped the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain, setting a 1:32.785 lap in the final stages of the afternoon session to head ART Grand Prix pair Callum Ilott and Nikita Mazepin.
Alessio Lorandi kicked off proceedings at the start of the day to beat Trident teammate Ryan Tveter on track, with MP Motorsport pair Dorian Boccolacci and Will Palmer sandwiching Giuliano Alesi (Trident) on their first visits to the circuit. The teams conducted a series of installation laps, coming across portions of the circuit covered in dirt from the previous weekend’s racing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The opening half of the session welcomed little running as a result, before ART broke the stalemate with Ilott joining the circuit on a set of installation tyres which use was extended to the entire morning session. The rest of the field followed shortly behind. David Beckmann of Jenzer Motorsport was the first to commit to a series of slick tyre laps, hammering the pace down as far as the 1m36s track.
With twenty minutes remaining, MP and Jenzer sent their respective drivers on slocks, immediately trading places at the top of the timesheets. Boccolacci, Kari and Calderon all spent spells at the top in the final fifteen minutes, with the Frenchman ending the flurry of runs with first place.
The final five minutes included a planned Virtual Safety Car systems test which neutralised any further decrease in laptimes, leaving Boccolacci on top by the end of the morning session. Calderon edged clear of Kari, as Juan Manuel Correa (Jenzer) edged past Palmer in the last ten minutes for fourth.
Pulcini led a late Campos Racing surge on slicks, taking sixth to head early hotlapper Beckmann, as Simo Laaksonen and Diego Menchaca completed the Spanish team’s presence in the top 10. Anthoine Hubert, who did not set a representative time on dry tyres, was tenth.
As a result of the lack of running in the morning’s session, the afternoon slot was extended by an hour from 2pm to 6pm. Kari was first on track after lunch, leading Hubert onto the circuit as ART, MP and Arden International threw all of their cars out of the pits at the start of the session.
The ART trio of Hubert, Ilott and Jake Hughes began to swap places at the top of the timing boards, coming under fire from Boccolacci before Hughes became the first man to break into the 1m32s laptimes. Hubert brought out the first red flag of the afternoon just before the two-and-a-half hour mark, going off at turn 3 and collecting the barrier.
After his car was cleared from the circuit, Lorandi got the session back underway at the restart. There was originally little improvement in times at the top in the final hour as the majority of the field focused on race simulations, although Pulcini briefly threatened to top Hughes.
A quick flurry of fast times pockmarked the final half-hour, as Ilott returned to head the timesheets and teammate Nikita Mazepin broke into second place shortly after. With five minutes left on the clock, Pulcini strung together a late fastest lap to overhaul the ART drivers, ending the first day on top of the standings ahead of Ilott, Mazepin and Hughes.
Trident pair Alesi and Pedro Piquet set late laps to stand fifth and sixth ahead of Hubert, as Beckmann grabbed eighth. Morning leader Boccolacci ended the day in ninth place, with teammate Kari completing the top half of the field.
The second day of testing will begin tomorrow at 9am, breaking for one hour at 12pm. The afternoon’s running will take place from 1pm until 4pm, concluding the GP3 Series pre-season tests.
GP3 Pre-season Test: Barcelona, Spain – Day 1 Morning Session
Driver
Team
Time
Laps
1
Dorian Boccolacci
MP Motorsport
1:34.964
20
2
Tatiana Calderon
Jenzer Motorsport
1:35.241
21
3
Niko Kari
MP Motorsport
1:35.567
20
4
Juan Manuel Correa
Jenzer Motorsport
1:35.806
17
5
Will Palmer
MP Motorsport
1:36.679
21
6
Leonardo Pulcini
Campos Racing
1:36.692
17
7
David Beckmann
Jenzer Motorsport
1:36.945
20
8
Simo Laaksonen
Campos Racing
1:37.618
15
9
Diego Menchaca
Campos Racing
1:40.113
16
10
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:43.650
24
11
Jake Hughes
ART Grand Prix
1:44.814
24
12
Alessio Lorandi
Trident
1:45.337
21
13
Nikita Mazepin
ART Grand Prix
1:45.491
20
14
Callum Ilott
ART Grand Prix
1:46.167
19
15
Joey Mawson
Arden International
1:47.578
19
16
Gabriel Aubry
Arden International
1:47.771
22
17
Pedro Piquet
Trident
1:50.917
14
18
Ryan Tveter
Trident
1:51.413
13
19
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:52.526
18
20
Julien Falchero
Arden International
1:52.674
22
GP3 Pre-season Test: Barcelona, Spain – Day 1 Afternoon Session
Driver
Team
Time
Laps
1
Leonardo Pulcini
Campos Racing
1:32.785
42
2
Callum Ilott
ART Grand Prix
1:32.797
63
3
Nikita Mazepin
ART Grand Prix
1:32.848
59
4
Jake Hughes
ART Grand Prix
1:32.971
58
5
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:33.014
33
6
Pedro Piquet
Trident
1:33.039
43
7
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:33.337
38
8
David Beckmann
Jenzer Motorsport
1:33.387
29
9
Dorian Boccolacci
MP Motorsport
1:33.483
53
10
Niko Kari
MP Motorsport
1:33.652
65
11
Simo Laaksonen
Campos Racing
1:33.749
44
12
Tatiana Calderon
Jenzer Motorsport
1:33.803
35
13
Will Palmer
MP Motorsport
1:33.898
44
14
Julien Falchero
Arden International
1:34.063
44
15
Ryan Tveter
Trident
1:34.116
49
16
Juan Manuel Correa
Jenzer Motorsport
1:34.139
37
17
Gabriel Aubry
Arden International
1:34.313
60
18
Diego Menchaca
Campos Racing
1:34.603
57
19
Joey Mawson
Arden International
1:35.239
48
20
Alessio Lorandi
Trident
1:35.254
13