Lotus ART driver sets quickest time on final day of post season testing
Yesterday marked the final day of GP3 Series(tm) post-season testing at Circuito De Jerez and the teams were greeted with cool temperatures in the morning. There was just one new face in paddock with Aaro Vainio returning to Lotus ART. Tom Blomqvist switched teams to Status Grand Prix, Facu Regalia also switched to the Irish team for Day 2. Conor Daly moved back to Carlin and Fabio Gamberini to RSC Mücke Motorsport.
After his impressive test in Valencia last week Daniel Abt was back on top of the time sheet in the morning for reigning champions Lotus ART. The young German slotted straight into P1 at the start of the session until David Fuminelli took over the reins after twenty minutes. During the first hour of running sophomores Michael Christensen, Marlon Stockinger and Matias Laine also took their turns at the top until Abt moved ahead once again with a 1:33.885 lap leaving the rest of the field to battle it out for second.With one hour left on the clock rain began to fall over the Spanish track and Abt's place at the top of the time sheet was secured for the remainder of the session. Laine was just 0.055 seconds behind in second ahead of Fumenelli, Stockinger and Maxim Zimin.By the time the lights turned green to mark the start of the afternoon session the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to break through once more. Vainio was top for Lotus ART until after thirty minutes Abt snatched P1 from his teammate and Daly then moved up into second for Carlin. As the track started to dry and the times dropped Gabby Chaves, Robert Visiou, Gamberini and Christensen all fought for the top spot until Tio Ellinas snatched P1 with 45 minutes left in the session.
As the clock counted down the GP3 machines all headed out with fresh rubber, but a high number of red flags meant it was tough for the young drivers to put together flying laps. The final battle for P1 looked like it was going to be between Fuminelli, Visiou and Patric Niederhauser who were swapping quickest times, but with just six minutes left in the session Laine snatched the top spot with a 1:36.446 lap bumping Visiou down into second. Nigel Melker then moved up into third ahead of Niederhauser and Fumanelli.GP3 Series(tm) will be back on track in February next year for 2012 pre-season testing.