MW Arden's Mitch Evans edges out teammate Matias Laine on day one of testingThe GP3 Series headed to Silverstone for the final two-day pre-season testbefore the season commences in Barcelona next month. There was one new facein the line-up for the test and that was British youngster Alice Powellmaking her maiden appearance in a GP3 car for Status Grand Prix, hoping toimpress to land a drive for the upcoming season and become the third femaledriver of the 2012 season.The test session began under heavy clouds and cool temperatures as thedrivers made their way onto the track to make sure they gained some dryrunning time with rain predicted. It was Kotaro Sakurai for Status GrandPrix who headed the timesheets for the first 30 minutes before Carlin'sWilliam Buller jumped to the top of the standings. After one hour, it wasthe duo of MW Arden drivers Matias Laine and David Fumanelli leading the wayjust before the first red flag of the day occurred when Powell spun at turn13 getting to grips with her new machine.
Antonio Felix Da Costa then took control of the timings by the smallest ofthe margins, as the session was brought to a halt when Tamas Pal Kissstopped on the circuit producing the second red flag of the morning. FelixDa Costa driver improved on his lap time with a 1'51.206, just 0.018s fasterthan Tio Ellinas and Evans as the drivers went into their final hour of themorning session before the break. Within the last twenty minutes, MW Arden'sEvans set a lap of 1'50.276 which was over half a second quicker than hisnearest contenders Felix Da Costa and Ellinas. Buller, Alex Brundle, MarlonStockinger, Robert Visoiu, Aaro Vainio, Laine and Kevin Ceccon completed thetop ten. Evans best laptime was five tenths faster than the quickest timeposted at the Silverstone test in 2011.It was Conor Daly who set the early pace in the afternoon session and thenEvans went P1 again. Ethan Ringel crashed after just two laps which caused ared flag and put an early end to his day. When the session resumed, Lainewent top with a laptime of 1:50.292, four tenths faster than the NewZealander.
In the final hour of the test, the rain that had been threatening finallyarrived, therefore preventing any drivers from improving on their earlierlaptimes. Several drivers ventured out onto the slippery circuit for somevital wet running, the first for many drivers in a GP3 car for this season.Finnish driver Laine finished just two hundredths off the Evans' fastesttime of the day making it a successful day for MW Arden topping bothtimesheets. Daly finished P3 with Buller, Vainio, Ellinas, Visoiu, DanielAbt, Brundle and Patric Niederhauser.