With the opening two rounds of the 2012 GP3 Series already completed, Atech CRS GP joined the rest of the series runners for a two-day mid-season test at Valencia this week. Tamas Pal Kiss, Ethan Ringel and John Wartique headed to Spain on the back of a strong showing last time out in Monaco, and it was Hungarian Pal Kiss who was fastest of the Leicestershire team’s drivers.
After a solid start to proceedings on Thursday (14 June), which saw Pal Kiss complete 32 laps in each session, and finish 15th and 17th respectively, the 21 year-old steadily improved over the course of the second day notching up 73 laps on his way to ninth fastest overall.
Hoping to build on the foundations of the previous test in Spain and the opening rounds of GP3, series rookies Ringel and Wartique both impressed during the two days. After 52 laps, and steadily reducing the deficit to his team-mate Pal Kiss, American Ringel placed ahead of the race-winner, 15th fastest at the end of day one.
The most inexperienced driver in the team’s line-up, Wartique, completed 106 laps in Spain, finishing Friday’s afternoon session in 17th on his first visit to the track. The Belgian declared himself happy with his performance as he looks to his first race at the track next weekend.
Tamas Pal Kiss: “We tried a lot of different set-ups on Thursday, but to be honest I was not entirely satisfied with my early lap times on fresh tyres. We used two sets and saved one extra for today which I’d hoped would allow us to improve our lap times and finish closer to the front. It worked, it was definitely better and I loved it.”
Ethan Ringel: “I’m happy overall with the testing, finishing up just 1.7 off the fastest car in 15th place. I feel better about the braking and was able to get the car rotated through the corners properly for the first time. I would say this was without doubt my best test yet. And the team was thrilled too, in fact David (Hayle) joked, "was someone else driving your car today?” Seriously though I now feel we can look for some continuous rapid improvement from here.”
John Wartique: “It was my first time testing here and I feel I learned many new things. I didn’t put new tyres on this afternoon and unfortunately also damaged the car a little when I hit the kerbs, but generally I’m happy with the performance and I’m going faster each time I get in the car. I’m looking forward to racing here next weekend.”
David Hayle Team Principal: "Overall it was a pretty encouraging test. The choice to save a set of spare tyres worked in Tamas' favour and allowed him to make good improvements over the two days. Once again Ethan and John made huge progress, Ethan's driving style has improved dramatically, but it's just a shame John couldn't run new tyres this afternoon as I'm sure he could have been in the top 10."